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Not everyone is aware, but it is very unhealthy to have belly fat, and it is also unattractive and may hold you back when it comes to your confidence and self-esteem.
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that excess belly fat is a huge risk factor for diseases such as cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
If you have abdominal fat, then you may have heard of the term “visceral fat.” That refers to fat surrounding your liver as well as other organs. It isn’t just fat individuals with belly fat; regular weight people are prone to having excess belly fat and they are at risk of the same kinds of health problems as well.
You might be saying, but there are certain health problems that you may not be responsible for. However, for those that you are, there is a good chance that excess belly weight was gained from leading an unhealthy lifestyle. So let’s look at the causes of belly fat.
What Causes Belly Fat
1. Consuming Sugary Beverages and Foods
Many people do not realize the amounts of sugary foods and beverages that they consume every day. Candies, cakes, fruit drinks, soda, and even so-called healthy muffins such as bran muffins, blueberry muffins, etc. have sugar in them. It is thought that belly fat develops because of high fructose levels that are inside of your body that comes from all of the sugar.
In only seconds, you can down spoonfuls of sugar just from the sodas that you drink. Studies have shown that liquid calories do not have the same effects on appetite that calories from solid foods do.
In some cases, alcohol may be healthy for the body, but also it may be harmful when you consume excess doses of it. Drinking in moderation, especially red wine, can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Drinking in large amounts will increase your chances of inflammation, liver disease and other types of health problems. Like the term belly fat, you might have heard of “beer belly” before. Studies have linked high alcohol intake with expanded waistlines, and men who drink over 3 drinks per day are much more likely, 80% more likely in fact,to have more belly fat compared to men who drink less.
Trans-fats are the worst fats around. It refers to when hydrogen gets added with unsaturated fats in order for them to be more stable. This is why trans-fats get used to extend the shelf life of numerous packaged foods such as baking mixes, muffins, and crackers.
Trans-fats cause inflammation and may cause heart disease and diabetes. Wake Forest University researchers state that trans-fats create fat around your belly, which adds new fat and also moves fat to the belly from other areas.
4. Sedentary Lifestyle
One of the major risk factors for your health is being inactive. That is why we are seeing so many obese individuals these days, and it is due to people becoming much less active. According to researchers, in 27 years twenty-five percent of the world’s population is going to be obese, with one in eight individuals having type 2 diabetes.
Just imagine what medical bills will be like! According to studies, people who watch TV for more than three hours per day are near twice the risk of having serious stomach obesity when compared with individuals who watch only around one hour per day. Other studies have shown that inactivity contributes to regaining fat around the belly following weight loss.
5. Low Protein Diets
If you are not getting enough protein from your diet, i.e. animal or plant protein, then you most likely will gain weight. Protein is among the most important factors that help to prevent gaining weight. When you follow a high protein diet, you feel satisfied and full for longer and increases your metabolic rate, so having excess belly fat is less likely.
Women commonly gain weight, and belly fat in particular, after reaching menopause. During puberty, the hormone estrogen signals for the body to begin storing fat in the thighs and hips for a potential pregnancy in the future. But during menopause, the levels of estrogen drop and fat goes to the abdomen and not in the thighs and hips any longer. Belly fat during menopause also can result from genetics.
7. Gut Bacteria
Hundreds of different types of bacteria live inside your gut, especially in the colon. Some of these bacteria are beneficial to your health while some will cause problems. You need to have a healthy gut in order to assist your immune with staying healthy and preventing disease.
When your gut bacteria is out of balance, it increases the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other types of diseases. Having a gut bacteria that are unhealthy promotes weight gain, due to consuming excessive amounts of sugary foods, unhealthy fats, and artificial sweeteners. Healthy gut bacteria are supported by fruits, fermented foods, vegetables, and whole grains.
8. Fruit Juice
Although fruit juice may sound healthy, it actually has lots of sugar in it. There is even lots of sugar in unsweetened ones. For example, one cola and 250 ml of apple juice contain the same amount of sugar. Fruit juice does offer vitamins and minerals, but the fructose may increase belly fat and even in some cases interfere with insulin production.
9. Cortisol and Stress
Cortisol is a hormone that is essential for survival and is produced by your adrenal glands. It is referred to as the stress hormone since it triggers the stress response within the body. Unfortunately, it might result in weight gain as well when excess amounts are produced, especially within the stomach area. Many people overeat due to stress, and excess calories are stored in the belly area.
10. Low-fiber Diets
Fiber is essential to control your weight and for having a healthy gut. There are some kinds of fiber that help you stay fuller longer, and also can stabilize hunger hormones, and reduce calorie absorption from the foods you consume. Soluble fiber helps to reduce belly fat – for every increase of 10 grams of soluble fiber will decrease belly fat accumulation. Diets low in fiber and high in refined carbs likely will result in belly fat increasing.
Sometimes, unfortunately, genes play a role in risk for obesity. Two studies have been conducted where 18 new genes were identified that linked overall obesity as well as 13 additional ones that influence whether weight gain ends up going to your thighs or belly. The findings were from the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT). If they end up being valid it could influence how obesity is treated and categorized. Some genes affecting appetite control as well as others affect metabolism apparently.
12. Lack of Sleep
You definitely need to have enough sleep; this is imperative for having good health. There were studies done on 68,000 women over the course of 16 years found those who got less than 5 hours of sleep per night had a 32% great chance of gaining 32 pounds compared to those sleeping 7 hours at least. Sleep disorders also can contribute to gain weight, like sleep apnea. According to studies obese men who had apnea had a greater amount of abdominal fat compared to obese men without any sleep apnea.
Dangers Posed By Belly Fat
The American Diabetes Association conducted research that showed visceral fat is not inactive inside of your body; instead, it produces chemicals and toxins called cytokines. It can increase the risk of heart disease, and cause your system to be not as sensitive to insulin, which puts you at risk for developing diabetes. Massachusetts General Hospital research reported that belly fat increases such health risks as:
- Poor control of blood sugar which can lead to diabetes
- Promotes the development of triglycerides and bad cholesterol in your blood
- Brain problems such as depression and dementia
- High blood pressure, and hardening of arteries
- Heart disease and stroke
Inflammation inside of the body definitely can promote the progression of diseases and can lead to issues such as bone problems and arthritis.
There are other benefits in addition to good health when you get rid of belly fat.
As previously discussed, having excess belly fat can be unattractive and may cause people to see you in a light that is different than what you might like, which means your self-esteem and self-confidence might drop. Everyone wants to feel and look good and improve their health – the way you feel inside of your body can help to build positive feelings.
In addition to its cosmetic benefit, you also regain your good health, and you feel a lot better, with more agility and energy, especially as you are growing older. You have to focus on having a healthy lifestyle, on an effective and consistent basis in order to deal with your excess belly fat. A diet combined with exercise you like to do, in addition attempting to live stress-free (which isn’t always easy to do) is what has to be concentrated on in order to slim down from those health effects coming from belly fat.
Many individuals are confused about how to find the best diet for targeting belly fat and to obtain the benefits. It does require a thorough understanding of the way everything fits together in order to get a plan of action started. You have to make a conscious daily decision on what you are going to eat, how much exercise you will be doing, how much sleep your body needs, and you will handle stress – these are all key to being able to combat hormonal imbalances which contribute to belly fat so much.
How To Get Rid Of Stubborn Belly Fat
If you lose belly fat, it will definitely help you obtain huge health benefits, and also it is more likely that you will live longer. Measure around your waist with a tape measure. For men, if you are past 102 cm or 40 inches, or for women over 88 cm or 35 inches, then you have what is referred to as ‘abdominal obesity.’ Even if you aren’t heavy in general, but have excess fat on your waistline, then you need to take steps in order to eliminate it. There are ways that your belly fat can be targeted. The following are 6 ways that you can lose belly fat:
- Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and sugar as discussed above
- Eat more protein – an effective long-term strategy for reducing belly fat
- Reduce your carbs. Low carb diets result in weight loss of two to three times higher compared to low-fat diets due to water weight also getting lost.
- Focus on high fiber foods, especially viscous fiber. Just keep in mind not all fiber is exactly the same. It seems that it is the viscous and soluble fibers will affect your weight. These are the type of fibers that provide prolonged satiety effect and decreased appetite
- Exercise is very effective in reducing belly fat and also helps prevent disease. It is not about doing abdominal exercises, which concentrate only on the abs. That won’t do any good. Performing different forms of exercises such as aerobic workouts, swimming, running and walking are known to help reduce belly fat. Simultaneously, inflammation levels are reduced, blood glucose is decreased, and other metabolic disorders that are associated with belly fat are improved.
- Eat mindfully. Take a closer look at the foods you eat, analyzing your eating habits in detail and the amount you eat. There are some people who have no idea what they’re eating, and often overestimate or underestimate whether they’re eating high-protein or low-carbohydrate foods.
How Hormones Are Linked With Belly Fat
Food is not the only thing that impacts belly fat levels. Hormones play a significant role as well. If you have imbalanced hormones, you might experience extra belly fat levels. Look at the following hormones that are lined with belly fat that accumulates around the waist:
As previously mentioned this hormone is absolutely essential for human survival and produced within the adrenal glands. This hormone dictates the way that your energy gets used. Whenever you feel threatened, then you get a big burst of cortisol and adrenaline also, which lets your body know it needs to replenish the adrenaline energy that you have lost.
That is why in stressful situations we want food as when there is stress, the body continues to pump cortisol. Cortisol also promotes the storage of fat inside the body – so if you’re stressed, then you hold onto excess fat, especially visceral fat.
Women tend to gain weight and especially belly fat once they reach menopause. During puberty, the body receives signals from the hormone estrogen telling it to start storing fat in the hips and thighs for the purpose of getting pregnant later. When estrogen levels drop at menopause, the fat goes to the abdomen rather than the hips and thighs. Excess belly fat during menopause can also be attributed to genetic factors.
You Need to Reset Your Hormones Naturally
Hormone expert Dr. Sarah Gottfried advises that you should do a complete review of what you eat. Forty days are set aside to eliminate all of the gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine, she suggests. Next, you strive to eat one pound of vegetables a day, such as cruciferous vegetables and premium protein.
The aim here is to eliminate high reactive foods to reduce your nutritional stress. It is also recommended by Dr. Gottfried that you engage in intermittent fasting – with her preference for the 16:8 method. Dr. Gottfried also recommends that people perform HIIT exercises and have at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Lack of Sleep can wreak havoc on your internal biochemical system, and when you’re tired, you get a tendency to overeat.
The biochemistry of your body goes down in spirals when you gain weight, particularly at the waist, causing more inflammation to occur in your body, not to mention oxidative stress, further promoting fat storage. The vicious cycle of hormonal imbalances and disease begins dragging you down unless you take action.
Eating To Eliminate Belly Fat
Try a Low-Carb Keto Diet
Changing the kind of calories that you consume can reduce belly fat and accelerate weight loss. A ketogenic diet is high in fats and protein and strictly low-carb. It also shows that those struggling with overweight helps you not feel hungry at all times. You also can add into your diet some metabolism boosters:
Your heart rate increases and it makes you sweat, which boosts your metabolic rate. This is one of the top foods to help reduce inflammation inside of your body. Try to add this pepper into your chicken recipes or use cayenne pepper in a detox.
Matcha Green Tea
This tea is great at boosting metabolism and helps with reducing body fat and weight loss. According to research.EGCG is a polyphenol found in the matcha tea which could be used to stimulate metabolism and slow or inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Wakame is a type of seaweed found most commonly in Japanese cuisine. Some studies at Hokkaido University have shown that a compound known as fucoxanthin found in wakame has the effect of burning fat tissue.
It is low in calories and has plenty of protein. Full-fat dairy products, including 1 or 2 percent cottage cheese, are rich in conjugated linoleic acid. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in a report published in May 2007, notes that eating a diet rich in conjugated linoleic acid could help reduce overall body fat mass in your body.
Berries usually contain less sugar compared to other fruits and are full of antioxidants and fiber.
Eggs and whole grain is a great protein break to help you with losing some belly fat.
2013 studies show that people who eat avocadoes normally have lower body mass Index (BMI) and lower waist circumference.
New research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids are useful in fighting obesity. People with a high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 (those who lack sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in their diet) are at increased risk of obesity, according to a study published in “Nutrients” in 2016. Tuna is loaded with Omega-3 and lean protein. Herring and mackerel contain high amounts of protein and have good fats that help with breaking down dangerous fats inside your body.
The truth of the matter is, there are numerous factors that can cause you to gain excessive amounts of belly fat. This can creep up in the back of your stomach muscles and at times it just will not go away. there are a number of different ways that you can eliminate your abdominal fat, and it is important to investigate it as soon as possible, since it is absolutely essential for your health, and to get the spring back into your life.