Should I Take Creatine While Trying to Lose Belly Fat – No! But Why?
Losing belly fat is a common goal for many individuals. You may be one of them and that’s why you’re here to explore this article. There are many popular choices but recently one name is getting the hype – Creatine. So, should I take creatine while trying to lose belly fat?
Well, we wouldn’t say yes because the primary function of creatine is to boost your sports performance. It isn’t originally meant for losing weight and reducing belly fat. However, creatine can help reduce belly fat indirectly.
A Brief of Creatine Effect on the Human Body
Creatine is a natural compound that is both produced by the body and obtained from protein-rich foods. It serves as a source of energy for our muscles. While our body can produce about half of the creatine it needs, the remaining portion is obtained from the diet. Creatine supplements are available to help replenish and enhance creatine levels, particularly beneficial for increasing muscle strength and size following resistance training exercises.
Creatine is commonly consumed in the form of powder or capsules. Research published in the Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise journal suggests that taking creatine either before or after a workout maximizes its effectiveness.
The advantages of using creatine include stimulating muscle growth, aiding in exercise recovery, and improving brain function. Additionally, creatine provides an energy supply to muscles, potentially enhancing performance during explosive activities like sprints, heavy weightlifting, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which are often employed for fat loss goals.
5 Reasons You’re Gaining Belly Fat
Before we discuss the main segment we’ll briefly give you ideas on why you’re gaining too much belly fat. So read on.
Foods rich in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup contribute to belly fat. Sugar overload, primarily fructose or fruit sugar, makes you insulin resistant. A 10-week study analyzed the impact on an obese group. In this study, 25 percent of the calorie intake of obese and overweight individuals came from fructose or glucose-sweetened beverages. At the end of the study, both the groups gained weight but the fructose group had more belly fat to get rid of.
Your activity level and alcohol consumption are closely related to belly fat. A sedentary lifestyle significantly increases abdominal girth in women. Some studies have shown that alcohol suppresses fat burning and that excess calories from alcohol are partly stored as belly fat, hence the term “beer belly”
What you eat will cast an impact on your waistline, particularly belly fat. Research studies have found that a low protein diet is directly linked to weight gain, specifically excess belly fat. Like protein, soluble fiber intake was associated with reduced abdominal fat. An observational study found that for each 10-gram increase in soluble fiber, there was a 3.7 percent decrease in belly fat accumulation
Stress and Cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone that gets released when you feel stressed. It is produced by the adrenal gland and is known as a stress hormone because it helps your body to mount a stress response. Too much cortisol drives overeating, but the excess calories get stored as belly fat.
Lack of Sleep
Many studies have linked lack of sleep to obesity, particularly belly fat. In one study, researchers found that obese men with sleep apnea had more abdominal fat than obese men without the disorder. Sleep deprivation increases hunger and slows down metabolism, making it more difficult to maintain or lose weight
Should I Take Creatine While Trying to Lose Belly Fat?
No, you shouldn’t take creatine while trying to lose belly fat. Creatine is not primarily intended for weight loss purposes and should not be used as a fat burner. Its main function is to enhance sports performance. According to Chapman, a known expert, creatine is not a weight-loss supplement but rather a substance used to maximize athletic performance.
One potential side effect of creatine supplementation is that it may lead to weight gain. However, this weight gain is often attributed to water retention in the muscles, rather than an increase in body fat.
Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that some individuals may experience a weight gain of around 2-4.5 lbs during the first week of taking oral creatine, mainly due to water retention.
Additionally, when using creatine to enhance athletic performance and increase muscle mass, it’s important to recognize that increased muscle mass can contribute to an overall increase in weight. However, this weight gain is a result of muscle development rather than fat accumulation. It’s worth noting that as you build muscle and retain more water, you may notice slight changes in your body’s appearance.
On the other hand, if your goal is to increase exercise levels to aid in weight loss, creatine may help maximize your sports performance, allowing you to engage in more intense workouts. However, it’s crucial to remember that creatine itself is not a dietary supplement specifically designed for weight loss purposes. It is primarily used to enhance athletic performance. For effective weight loss, it is advisable to focus on a balanced diet and regular exercise routine. If you want you can also read – does creatine has calories?
Does Creatine Burn Belly Fat?
Creatine does not have a direct effect on burning belly fat. However, by supporting several functions of the body it indirectly helps to burn belly fat.
Below let’s check the study on this query.
Hillard emphasizes that targeting fat loss in a specific area, such as the belly, is not how the body works. Overall fat loss occurs through achieving a calorie deficit, following a well-balanced diet that is high in protein, and engaging in increased exercise.
While creatine can be beneficial for increasing muscle mass and enhancing performance in the gym, its impact on fat loss is limited. Creatine primarily aids in boosting power and achieving sporting results, rather than directly facilitating fat loss.
To effectively reduce belly fat or lose weight in general, it’s important to focus on a comprehensive approach that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a calorie deficit.
4 Ways Creatine Helps to Reduce Belly Fat
Below we’ll mention 4 ways in which creatine helps to reduce belly fat. So, keep on reading.
Creatine helps increase water content in the muscles, which acts as a protective mechanism. This additional water weight helps safeguard muscle fibers from damage during intense training and calorie restriction.
Increased Muscle Size and Strength
Research has shown that incorporating creatine supplementation during cutting can lead to increased muscle size and strength. It supports the maintenance of lean muscle mass while promoting fat loss, resulting in a more sculpted and toned physique.
Enhanced Power Performance
Creatine has been found to improve power output during high-intensity activities. By replenishing the energy stored in the muscles, it can enhance performance in explosive movements, such as weightlifting or sprinting.
Some studies suggest that creatine supplementation can increase endurance without affecting fat mass. This can be particularly beneficial during cutting, as it helps athletes maintain their training intensity and performance levels.
Optimal Creatine Dosage for Cutting
Determining the appropriate dosage of creatine during the cutting phase is essential to maximize its benefits. Here are some guidelines for creatine dosage:
- Loading Phase: Many athletes and sports professionals opt for a loading phase, where they take approximately 0.3 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight, spread over four daily doses, for a period of 5-7 days. This loading phase helps saturate the muscles with creatine quickly.
- Maintenance Phase: After the loading phase, a lower daily dose of creatine is required to maintain optimal levels. A dosage range of 3-10 grams per day is commonly recommended. However, larger athletes may need to take higher doses, around 5-10 grams per day, to maintain their creatine stores effectively.
Read also: How much water should I take with creatine?
10 Best Alternatives to Creatine to Lose Belly Fat
As you already know that creatine isn’t a suitable option to lose belly fat. Ao, what should you try then? Don’t worry, we’re adding 10 alternatives to creatine to lose belly fat.
1. Green Tea
Numerous scientific studies support the fat-burning benefits of green tea. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that consuming an optimal amount of green tea rich in catechins for 12 weeks resulted in reduced waist size and total fat area. Green tea has been found to activate thermogenic fat-burning activity and enhance calorie burn by 3-4 percent, with some studies indicating an increase of up to 8 percent. It also activates the fat-burning gene during exercise and rest.
Pulses, including chickpeas and various beans, are protein-rich carbs that aid in fat burning. They are a good source of fiber, which promotes satiety and helps maintain regular bowel movements. Research from the University of Minnesota demonstrated that individuals consuming adequate fiber experienced less weight gain compared to those with a similar calorie intake but lower fiber consumption.
3. Oats With Milk
Oats are highly beneficial for weight loss due to their ability to provide prolonged feelings of fullness. Opting for oats with larger flakes, which take longer to digest, is recommended. Mixing oats with low-fat milk adds protein and slow-digesting carbohydrates, providing sustained energy. Research published in the American College of Nutrition suggests that milk and dairy foods may aid in weight management and prevent weight gain.
Nuts, when consumed in moderation, can contribute to belly fat loss. They are rich in essential nutrients such as protein and monounsaturated fatty acids. A study in “Diabetes Care” found that individuals following a high-protein and high-monounsaturated fat diet experienced more significant abdominal and total weight loss compared to those following a lower protein and monounsaturated fat diet. Nuts also contain mood-boosting magnesium, which supports a healthy sleep cycle and weight management.
5. Capsiplex Burn
One effective dietary supplement for weight loss is Capsiplex Burn. This supplement is designed to enhance the body’s heat production, which in turn boosts metabolism through thermogenesis. By utilizing a natural blend of ingredients, Capsiplex Burn helps convert stubborn fat into energy instead of storing it. The supplement offers several benefits, including reducing food cravings, preserving muscle mass, maintaining glucose levels, promoting energy and focus, slowing the production of new fat cells, and supporting intense training sessions. Capsiplex Burn is suitable for both short-term and long-term use, thanks to its clinically dosed formulation.
The key ingredient in Capsiplex Burn is capsicum, known for its ability to decrease subcutaneous fat in the body. Scientific studies have shown that individuals who consume capsicum experience noticeable results in as little as 12 weeks. This ingredient plays a significant role in the supplement’s effectiveness in promoting weight loss.
6. Instant Knockout
Designed specifically for active individuals, Instant Knockout is a fat burner that helps accelerate weight loss. It stops fat storage, increases metabolism, reduces cravings, and converts fat into energy. With ingredients like Glucomannan and L-Theanine, it supports fat loss, cognitive functions, and muscle definition.
Phen24 is a two-step weight loss system that targets fat burning during the day and night. It reduces cravings, improves sleep, converts excess fat into energy, and prevents fat storage. The system uses ingredients like caffeine and hop extract to boost energy, trigger thermogenesis, and promote fat loss.
8. Whey Protein
Whey protein, commonly used for muscle recovery, can also benefit individuals seeking fat loss. Supplementing with whey protein has been shown to result in a slimmer waistline. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that overweight adults who consumed whey protein twice daily for 23 weeks had smaller waist circumferences compared to those who were supplemented with soy or carbohydrates. Notably, participants did not reduce calorie intake or make changes to their regular diets, suggesting that whey protein supplementation alone can stimulate belly fat loss.
PhenQ is a natural weight loss aid that targets and eliminates fat cells from multiple body regions. It accelerates metabolism, triggers thermogenesis, and reduces appetite and cravings, leading to fat loss and supporting a healthier lifestyle. Its ingredients, such as A-Lacy Reset and caffeine, promote fat-burning and energy levels.
10. High-Protein Diet
Consuming a high-protein diet has been associated with weight loss and reduced belly fat. Protein helps increase satiety, boost metabolism, and preserve muscle mass. Incorporating lean sources of protein, such as poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes, into your meals can support belly fat loss
Other Health Benefits of Creatine
You already know whether you should take creatine while trying to lose belly fat. Aside from that, creatine can help with several health benefits. Let’s check them below.
Improves Athletic Performance
Creatine supplementation has been shown to enhance high-intensity, short-duration activities, such as weightlifting, sprinting, and jumping. It helps increase muscle strength, power, and overall performance during these activities by replenishing the body’s ATP (adenosine triphosphate) stores, which are the primary source of energy for muscle contractions.
Aids Exercise Recovery
Creatine has the potential to improve post-exercise recovery by reducing muscle damage and inflammation. It can help speed up the process of replenishing energy stores and repairing muscle fibers after intense workouts, thereby promoting faster recovery and reducing muscle soreness.
Prevents or Reduces Injury
Creatine’s ability to enhance muscle strength and power can contribute to injury prevention. By improving muscular performance and reducing fatigue, it may help maintain proper form and technique during exercises, reducing the risk of injuries caused by fatigue-induced errors.
Can Increase Training Capacity and Tolerance
Creatine supplementation has been found to increase the body’s capacity to tolerate high-intensity training. By providing additional energy for muscular contractions, it allows individuals to perform more repetitions, sets, or exercises before reaching fatigue. This can lead to greater training adaptations and improvements in overall fitness.
Efficiently Promotes Muscle Gains
Creatine is well-known for its ability to promote muscle gain. It increases muscle protein synthesis, leading to greater muscle hypertrophy (growth) over time. This makes it a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders looking to increase muscle mass and strength.
May Fight Against Neurological Diseases
Emerging research suggests that creatine supplementation may have neuroprotective effects and potential therapeutic benefits for various neurological conditions. It has shown promise in mitigating the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, by enhancing brain energy metabolism and exerting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
May Lower Blood Sugar
Some studies indicate that creatine supplementation may improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, potentially leading to lower blood sugar levels. This effect could be beneficial for individuals with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
May Reduce Fatigue and Tiredness
Creatine plays a role in energy production and can help combat fatigue and tiredness. By increasing phosphocreatine stores in the muscles, it can enhance the body’s ability to produce ATP, the main energy currency in cells. This may lead to reduced feelings of fatigue and improved endurance during prolonged physical activity.
Can Improve Brain Function
Creatine is involved in maintaining energy balance in the brain and supporting cognitive functions. Research suggests that creatine supplementation may enhance working memory, intelligence, and mental performance in tasks that require short-term memory and rapid processing, particularly in vegetarians and vegans who tend to have lower creatinine levels.
How Much Creatine is Safe to Take?
Determining the appropriate dosage of creatine is crucial when incorporating it into your diet. According to Hillard, it is recommended to consume 20g of creatine per day during the loading phase, which typically lasts for the initial five to seven days. Afterward, you can transition to the maintenance phase, where the daily dosage should be reduced to 3-5g of creatine.
Before selecting a specific brand or product of creatine, it is advisable to conduct thorough research. This ensures that the chosen supplement is clinically tested, safe to use, free from additives, and suitable for any specific dietary requirements you may have.
It is worth noting that creatine has been deemed safe by the International Society of Sports Nutrition and is widely utilized by numerous athletes involved in strength and power activities.
Side Effects of Creatine
In this segment, we’ll learn about the side effects of creatine.
One of the most common side effects of creatine supplementation is water retention. This means that your body may retain more water, resulting in temporary weight gain. While this may not be desirable for individuals focusing solely on weight loss, it does not directly impact fat loss. It is important to stay adequately hydrated when taking creatine to mitigate any potential discomfort caused by water retention.
Bloating and Stomach Discomfort
Some individuals may experience bloating and stomach discomfort as side effects of creatine usage. These symptoms are typically mild and temporary. If these issues persist or worsen, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for further guidance.
To minimize the risk of side effects, it is crucial to adhere to the recommended dosage of creatine. Taking excessively high doses can increase the likelihood of experiencing adverse effects. Following the guidelines provided by experts and manufacturers can help mitigate potential risks.
Quality and Credibility
It is essential to choose creatine supplements from reputable and credible brands or companies. This ensures that the product undergoes rigorous testing, meets quality standards, and is free from contaminants or impurities. Opting for supplements from trusted sources can minimize the risk of adverse reactions.
It’s worth noting that individual responses to creatine can vary. While many people tolerate it well, some individuals may be more sensitive and prone to experiencing side effects. Monitoring your body’s response and consulting a healthcare professional if any concerns arise is always a prudent approach.
Is Creatine Safe?
Yes, creatine is safe though it has some potential negative effects. Moreover, Creatine has been extensively studied, and the research consistently demonstrates its safety and effectiveness as a sports performance supplement. While there are anecdotal reports of side effects such as leg cramps, unwanted weight gain, and digestive issues, numerous scientific studies have been conducted to assess its safety.
These studies, conducted over many years, have consistently shown that Creatine is safe for most people when used as directed. It is important to note that individual responses to Creatine may vary, and some individuals may be more susceptible to certain side effects. However, overall, the scientific consensus supports the notion that Creatine is a safe and well-tolerated supplement.
It is always advisable to follow recommended dosages, choose high-quality products from reputable brands, and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any specific concerns or pre-existing medical conditions. By doing so, you can ensure that you are using Creatine safely and effectively to enhance your sports performance. You can also read – does creatine make you fat?
Hopefully, we’ve covered everything on the topic – should I take creatine while trying to lose belly fat?
In conclusion, we’ll say again that there is no evidence that creatine will directly help to lose belly fat. However, it’ll show positive effects on muscle strength and performance. So reading the other benefits you may continue consuming it if it’s going to help you anyway. Good luck!