Does Garlic Burn Belly Fat Or Is It Just A Smelly Myth?

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: April 2, 2024
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I’ve heard some crazy ideas for dealing with belly fat as a personal trainer, but I’m always interested when people tell me about different natural ingredients that can help with weight gain.

In a conversation with a colleague, she mentioned eating raw garlic for weight loss.

Now, I don’t mind garlic in food, but for it to work on belly fat, it would have to be worth the smelly breath you’d be dealing with.

So, I’ve gone through the relevant literature and got a nutritionist to help me with the research.

Let’s see if it can actually help you lose weight.

Quick Summary

  • Garlic, particularly due to its allicin content, may assist in reducing belly fat, but it's not a standalone solution for weight loss.
  • Enhancing weight loss results can be achieved by combining garlic, especially in powder form, with ingredients like lemon juice.
  • Research by the NIH indicates that garlic supplements, often combined with other fat-burning ingredients, can effectively help people lose about a pound per week in under 12 weeks.
  • As a trainer, I've observed that while garlic can contribute to weight loss, it should be part of a broader strategy including a balanced diet and regular exercise for effective and sustainable results.

Does Eating Garlic Reduce Belly Fat?

Top view of garlic in a glass jar

Yes, eating garlic may have a mild fat-burning effect that can contribute to reducing belly fat, but it's not a miraculous solution for weight loss [1].

It's a mild fat-burner. My nutritionist observed garlic's limited effect on weight alone. Yet, combining garlic powder with lemon juice on an empty stomach may enhance results.

Garlic also potentially reduces hunger. More on that later.

Lemon juice is beneficial for belly fat, possibly boosting metabolism and aiding digestion. Paired with a balanced diet and exercise, lemon juice can assist in losing belly fat.

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How Much Weight Can You Lose With It?

You can lose about a pound per week when using garlic in combination with other weight loss aids, according to research by NIH and my experience as a trainer.

Research by NIH reveals that people shed about a pound weekly with garlic supplements, often mixed with other fat-burning ingredients [2].

From what I've observed, raw garlic can enhance overall health, but it's the powdered supplements, especially when used alongside other weight loss aids, that really make a noticeable difference.

“A study published in "Nutrition Research and Practice" in June 2012 found that taking garlic extract helped participants reduce their body mass index, especially if they also exercised. Those who took the extract without exercising, however, lost more muscle.”

- Jessica Bruso, Writer at SFGate.com

Overall, I wouldn’t dismiss it as a dietary supplement, but relying on it to burn belly fat and more calories as part of your weight loss plan is not the best idea.

Other Benefits

Pointing at healthy belly

Both raw garlic and powder can have positive effects on your overall health that could make them a worthwhile addition to your diet.

  • First of all, garlic can impact your digestive system and act as an appetite suppressant.
  • That should help you bridge the gaps between meals and allow you to avoid unhealthy snacking.
  • According to ScienceDirect, garlic can have a positive effect on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease [3].
  • And then, there’s the positive impact on blood pressure, which can be important for obese people on a weight loss journey.

These are all important health benefits that go beyond your fitness levels and body weight, and they are good enough reasons for me to regularly take a garlic supplement. 

Overall, it can help with a general improvement in body composition, but I wouldn’t rely on it solely to lose weight and get slim.

Related ArticleIs Garlic Good For Testosterone?

Long-term Effects and Sustainability

As a personal trainer, I often tell my clients that while garlic, with its allicin content, might help in weight loss, it's not a magic bullet. Its exact role in weight reduction isn't definitively proven.

A balanced diet, packed with a variety of nutrients, is crucial for overall health. Too much garlic can lead to digestive problems, bad breath, and even allergies in certain individuals.

For sustainable weight management, I recommend a combination of a diverse diet, regular physical activity, and other healthy habits.

Comparison with Other Natural Remedies,

Garlic contains allicin, believed to have metabolism-boosting and fat-reducing properties.

However, compared to other natural remedies, like green tea and apple cider vinegar, garlic's direct impact on weight loss is less established.

  • Green tea is rich in catechins, promoting fat oxidation and thermogenesis.
  • Apple cider vinegar may help control appetite and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Safety-wise, all these remedies are generally safe in moderate amounts, but excessive consumption may lead to side effects.

FAQs

Do Garlic Supplements Make Your Breath Smell?

Yes, garlic supplements can make your breath smell. While chewing garlic cloves will cause a more instant smell from your breath, digesting garlic can slowly emit gasses and smells that are very noticeable.

Should You Take Garlic Daily To Lose Weight?

No, you shouldn’t take garlic with the hope of losing weight. It has a limited effect on fat burning and won’t make a huge difference to your weight loss goals directly. But taking it daily could have several benefits on your heart health.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31357923/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4763563/
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464622003644
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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