You may be a keto fan, you may be a fasting fan or you could even be both, but if these two popular went head to head, which would be better for burning belly fat?
It’s a tough question and the somewhat complicated answer is: it really depends on who is asking, or more specifically, how much weight have you got to lose, your gender, and which diet you will be able to stick to in the long-run. Here’s why.
Weight loss, or more specifically fat metabolism, is much more complicated than we often realise. It’s influenced by a large number of variables including age, gender, genetics, exercise, past weight loss and hormones. This is why there are no hard and fast rules about what will work best for everyone; basically everyone is different.
Keto, or extremely low carbohydrate diets, are extremely effective in inducing fast weight loss, if a) ketosis is maintained, and b) if people can follow them. Anecdotally, in my experience they work better for males and for those who have large amounts of weight to lose (>20kg).
For females, keto is not always the best option as, a) they tend to prefer carbs over fats and therefore may have difficulty achieving and maintaining ketosism, and b) may find that hormones are influencing where fat is stored in the body specifically resulting in stubborn belly fat. This is not to say that keto will not work. Rather for keto to work, you have to be able to adhere to it long term and that hormonal issues such as insulin resistance may be influencing whether or not belly fat is likely to be mobilised.
Fasting can be extremely effective in inducing fat loss as it can dramatically alter eating patterns and metabolism.
When it comes to targeting particularly stubborn areas of body fat – as is often the case with belly fat – change to regular routines is the key. For someone who has had little success achieving fat loss with regular diet and exercise, incorporating regular periods of fasting can give metabolic rates a boost, resulting in subsequent changes in body shape, composition and body fat when nothing else seemed to work.
The thing about fasting is that unlike keto, the results are relatively slow (1-2kg a month versus 1-2 kg a week on keto) but of course you have to have this much extra weight on keto to actually lose to see these results.
So, ultimately there is no hard and fast answer to which is better. If you have large amounts of weight to lose (>5-10kg), and most importantly can stick to a keto diet, that is more likely to support fast weight loss and target abdominal fat stores.
On the other hand, if you only have a few kilos to lose and a few of those are around your belly, dietary change will be the key to success. Fasting regimes are extremely effective in giving the metabolism a boost and basically making the body’s cells work harder. This in turn may be a successful strategy to target belly fat, which had previously remained resistant to more traditional dietary approaches.