Poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress are some causes why people gain belly fat. But how can people help lose their belly fat?
Belly fat is found around the abdomen. There are two kinds of belly fat: visceral (fat around the organs of the person, and subcutaneous (the fat that sits under the skin). Health problems from visceral fat are more harmful compared to having subcutaneous fat. How belly fat can be harmful?
Being overweight is one of the top causes of many diseases. And excess belly fat can increase the risk of heart disease and heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, asthma, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia.
What are the causes of belly fat?
Sugary foods including candies, cakes, and beverages (fruit juice and soda) can cause weight gain, lower a person’s ability to burn fat, and slows down the metabolism of a person.
The low protein, high carb diets may have some effects on weight. Protein helps you feel fuller for longer period. Some health professionals say that if you do not have lean protein in your diet, you may tend to eat more.
Trans fats are proven to cause inflammation and obesity. Many foods have trans fats especially those bought at the fast foods, and baked goods (crackers, muffins). The American Heart Association strongly suggest to substitute trans fats with healthy whole grain foods, monounsaturated fats, as well as polyunsaturated fats. Also reading food labels before buying can help identify foods with trans fats.
Too much intake of alcohol.
Of course, we are all aware that drinking too much alcohol can cause many health problems such as inflammation and liver disease. A report about alcohol intake and obesity shows that drinking too much alcohol can cause to gain weight around the belly.
Lack of exercise.
As you eat more calories than you burn off, they will gain weight, especially around your abdomen. People with inactive lifestyle makes it difficult to remove those excess fat.
Cortisol, a steroid hormone, helps your body control and handle stress. When you are in a dangerous or stressful situation, your body releases cortisol. The thing is, it can have some effect on your metabolism. Most likely, people under stress reach for food for comfort and cortisol causes the extra calories to keep around their belly and other parts of the body for later use.
Many studies show that behavior, environment, and genetic factors play an important part in causing people to be obese and overweight. Genes may directly cause overweight or obesity in particular disorders like Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. While genes do not always determine one’s future health, behavior and genes may both cause overweight and obesity. Also, environmental factors can also play part for a person to become obese.
There is an increasing interest in studying a connection between how much people sleep and how much they weigh. Results indicate that generally adults and children who get little sleep may tend to weigh more compared to those who get enough quality sleep.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine that indicates the link between weight gain to short sleep period. It claims that poor quality and short sleep duration can lead to the development of excess belly fat.
Smoking does not only increases one’s risk for lung cancer and heart disease, but it can lead to stored fat in the belly. You may not gain pounds as a direct result of smoking, but any fat that you have may tend to distribute around your abdomen, and causes more illnesses.
Tips on how to lose belly fat
Improve diet. A healthy, balanced diet can help you lose weight and lose those unwanted belly fat. Avoid eating foods rich in sugar, unhealthy fats, and refined carbs because they have low nutritional content. Opt for eating vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and complex carbs.
Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol is metabolized differently compared with foods and even other beverages. The body gets energy from the calories in carbs, proteins, and fats and they are gradually digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system. It is different from alcohol. It is different with alcohol. As it is seen by your body as “toxin,” it does not need digestion. Instead the liver burns alcohol rather than fat. This means that the body focuses on processing alcohol that it cannot properly breakdown foods with carbs and fat. As a result, the calories are turned into body fat and ends up as permanent storage in the body, particularly in the belly.
Exercise regularly. Sedentary lifestyle is linked with many severe health problems which includes weight gain. Exercise regularly. Doing both aerobic exercise and strength training help people with belly fat.
Reduce stress. The body reacts to any stress in exactly the same manner. Each time you are stressed out, your brain sends message to your cells to release hormones. There is then a surge of adrenaline and taps stored energy so that you can “fight-or-flee.” The body also releases cortisol hormones, telling the body to replenish the energy. And as a result, this makes you very hungry. Instead of craving for carrots during stress, you reach out for sweet, salty and foods loaded with fats since they stimulate your brain to release pleasure substances to reduce tension. It is very addicting that each time you are stressed out, you grab fattening foods. Stress-relieving activities such as mindfulness, meditation, and exercise like yoga can help during stressful and anxious day.
Improve sleep habits. The main purpose of sleep is to allow your body to rest, heal, and recover. Getting quality sleep helps you remove unwanted pounds including your belly fat.
Stop smoking. Smoking increases insulin resistance and is linked with belly fat build-up. It increase chances of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Quitting helps reduce risk from extra belly fat and improve overall health condition.
With excess belly fat, people are at high risk for many serious diseases. Reasons for accumulating belly fat include poor diet, lack of exercise, and getting not enough sleep. Therefore, a healthy diet and active lifestyle help lose those extra belly fat and reduce the risk of the health problems.
And there is more healthy tips coming in. Read our next article.