Belly Fat: The Facts

Belly fat is an insidious condition that leads to some evident consequences. For starters, it’s unattractive. As a personal observation, nothing is more unattractive than an individual (male or female) with a large abdomen. But physical appearance is only half the story. Belly fat can be the beginning of a downward spiral to ill health. The purpose of this article is to shed light on belly fat: the facts.

The truth about belly fat

For starters, what is belly fat? Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is excess weight that develops over time around the center of the body.

There are two types of belly fat. One (subcutaneous) tends to give the body a pear shape because it accumulates in the lower body, while fat in the abdominal area which yields the apple shape is largely visceral. Where fat finally ends up is influenced by many factors, including heredity and hormones.

Visceral, fat is of explicit concern as a result of it being a key player in a variety of health issues— far more so than connective tissue fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat, on the contrary, lies out of reach, deep among the abdomen, where it pads the areas between our abdominal organs.

Belly fat surrounds our organs and increases risk for disease. The especially detrimental problem with visceral fat is that it releases cytokines (immune system chemicals), which can greatly increase the chance of cardiovascular (heart) disease, boost chances of acquiring diabetes, raise blood pressure and bad (LDL) cholesterol. In women, It’s additionally related with breast cancer and also the necessity for gallbladder surgery. Needless to say, these are some potentially serious side effects.

Causes of belly fat

Common causes of belly fat include:

Poor diet – Sugary food, such as cakes, cookies (I’m guilty), and candy, as well as drinks, such as soda and fruit juice, can: cause weight gain, slow a person’s metabolism, reduce a person’s ability to burn fat.

Low-protein, high-carbohydrate diets can also affect weight. Protein helps an individual feel fuller for an extended period of time, and people who do not include lean protein in their diet may eat more food overall.

Trans fats, in particular, can cause inflammation and may lead to obesity. Trans fats are found in many foods, including fast food and baked goods, for example, muffins or crackers. The American Heart Association recommends that people replace trans fats with healthful whole-grain foods, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.

Reading food labels, which is required reading today, can help a person determine whether their food contains trans fats among other things.

Excessive alcohol – Consuming excess alcohol can cause a variety of health problems, including liver disease and inflammation. A 2015 report on alcohol consumption and obesity in the journal Current Obesity Reports
indicates that drinking excess alcohol causes males to gain weight around their abdomens. However, study results in females are inconsistent.

Inactivity – If a person consumes more calories than they burn off, they will inevitably put on weight. An inactive lifestyle makes it hard for a person to get rid of excess fat, especially around the abdomen.

Stress – A steroid hormone known as cortisol helps the body control and deal with stress. When a person is in a dangerous or high-pressure situation, their body releases cortisol, and this can have an impact on their metabolism. People often reach for food for comfort when they feel stressed, and cortisol causes the excess calories to remain around the belly and other areas of the body for later use.

Genetics – Some things we just can’t control. There is some evidence that a person’s genes can play a part in whether or not they become obese. Scientists think genes can influence behavior, metabolism, and the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. Similarly, environmental factors and behavior also play a role in the likelihood of people becoming obese.

Poor sleep – A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine links weight gain to short sleep duration, which could lead to an excess of belly fat. Both poor quality and short duration of sleep can play a part in the development of abdominal fat. Not getting enough good sleep may, potentially, lead to unhealthful eating behaviors, such as emotional eating. For more detailed information on sleep and health, see my article:

Smoking – smoking is not considered to be a direct cause of belly fat, but it is believed to be a risk factor. A 2012 study published in the journal PloS one showed that, although obesity was the same between smokers and nonsmokers, smokers had more belly and visceral fat than nonsmokers.

Losing belly fat

All is not lost. By adopting the following changes, one may be able to lose their unwanted belly fat.

Exercise – A inactive life style brings with it several serious health issues, including weight gain. Excessive weight opens the door to a host of health issues. Therefore, anyone trying to lose weight should include a good amount exercise in their daily routine. Walking is a good place to start. For details see the article:

Undertaking both aerobic exercise and strength training can help tackle belly fat. Exercise is most effective if people combine both cardiovascular and high-intensity training alongside weights and resistance training.

Better dietary choices – A healthy, balanced diet can help one lose weight, and it is also likely to have a positive effect on their overall health. Things to avoid include sugar, fatty foods, and refined carbohydrates that have low nutritional content. Instead, it’s best to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates.

Reduce your alcohol consumption – Anyone desiring to lose excess abdominal fat should monitor their alcohol intake. Alcoholic drinks typically contain extra sugar, which may contribute to weight gain. Actually limiting alcohol is a good thing for overhaul health.

Increase sunlight exposure – A 2016 review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health **indicates that exposure to sunlight in animals can lead to a reduction in weight gain and metabolic abnormalities. The review further highlights that few studies have looked at the effects of sunlight on humans, in respect of weight gain. It also states that more research is required to support the findings so far. So stay tuned for that one.

Reduce your stress – Stress can cause a person to gain weight as mentioned above. The release of the stress hormone cortisol influences a person’s appetite and could cause them to eat more. Eating under stress is a common reaction. Stress-relieving tactics can include mindfulness and meditation, and gentle exercise, such as yoga.

Examine your sleep patternSleep is vital to people’s overall health, and too little rest can have a severe impact on well-being.

Sleep’s primary purpose is to allow the body to rest, heal, and recover, but it can also have an impact on a person’s weight. Getting enough good-quality sleep is crucial once an individual is trying to shed weight, and belly fat.

Losing belly fat takes discipline to engage the necessary lifestyle changes. For information on a complete program that aids losing belly fat, click this link.

Good health!

Please feel free to leave any question, comment, or concern below






4 thoughts on “Belly Fat: The Facts”

  1. This informative post brings me much concern for me and my husband.  I’ve been noticing lately how we get bigger especially in the belly area. We were actually checking out earlier if our body is pear shaped or apple! As I go on reading, I found out that the main culprit are unhealthy food, stress (who doesn’t with work overload) and bad sleeping pattern. My husband is smoking too ( alternate with vape) so I guess it will worsen the situation if not given proper action. Switching to a balanced diet and having regular exercise is going to be a big transition for our health goal. Thanks for your reminders and tips on how to get rid of our belly fat. It means so much that somebody out there could explain well the cause and effect of this problem. More power! By the way, is there a food supplement that can help us to break these fats? Thanks!

    1. Yes, there are certain strains of probiotics that can aid in weight loss and can be taken as a supplement.  Strains of the Lactobacillus family.  In particular Lactobacillus gasseri.  If you can get back to my website, there’s a post “What are the Health Benefits of Probiotics.

      I hope this helps and good luck!

  2. This is not a bad a bad one at all, I have started adding some belly fat and that’s not a good thing for me at all right now. I think it is due to inactivity and bad intake of food. I didn’t know that it is related to heart diseases. I was already scared of having diabetes and now I’m learning my heart is also at a big danger. I think I need to change my lifestyle generally especially my good intake. Tha k you for this valuable information. I learnt a lot from this.

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