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The #1 Best Supplement for a Flat Belly, Says Dietitian

Is there such a thing? We turned to an expert to find out.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

Unfortunately, there aren't many shortcuts to getting a flat belly: if this is your goal, then good old-fashioned diet and exercise are your best friends in achieving it. That said, there are simple tweaks you can make that will help you along the way—like taking the right supplements to ensure your body can absorb certain essential nutrients while flushing out waste more effectively, and your metabolism is functioning optimally. According to Trista Best, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements, the best supplement for a flat belly is digestive enzymes. Never heard of them? It's time to get to know these powerful natural substances. (And while you're at it, here are the 10 Easiest Flat Belly Hacks You Need to Try.)

Basically, when your body is working properly, your pancreas and small intestine produce special enzymes to break down specific macronutrients: proteases for proteins, amylases for carbs, and lipases for fats. But sometimes your body just can't keep up—which may leave you with some GI discomfort after eating certain foods.

"There are many forms of carbohydrates and even more enzymes needed in the digestion process," says Best. "If one or more of these enzymes are missing or lacking in your gut, like any of those needed to digestion the fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) carbohydrates, you can experience gas and bloating. And when the digestive process slows down one's metabolism can take a hit as well."

Some of the foods that contain these fermentable carbohydrates, according to Best, include garlic, artichokes, apples, mango, prunes, cauliflower, and most gluten-containing products.

"If you cannot reduce or avoid these foods, supplementing with their enzymes may be helpful," she says.

Taking a digestive enzyme supplement may assist your body in breaking down fats, proteins, and carbs into even smaller molecules—which means not only will you absorb more of their nutrients, but you'll also probably have an easier time maintaining a flat tummy.

"By adding these enzymes into your supplement regimen, you may find that your bloating and weight both decrease simultaneously," says Best.

Because they're meant to mimic your body's natural enzymes that are released during digestion, it's recommended to take these supplements right before you eat. That way, by the time that meal hits your stomach, your body will have everything it needs to digest the food efficiently and effectively. It may be helpful to consult with a gastroenterologist or a dietitian with experience in digestive health to find out which enzymes would be most beneficial for you.

Remember: over-the-counter supplements are not regulated by the FDA. However, your doctor can also run lab tests to determine whether you're actually low in a certain enzyme, and prescribe a supplement for you.

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Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more about Rebecca