It is often suggested normal to have belly fat, but too much abdominal fat can have been potentially adverse to your health, specifically among adults and aged individuals. In fact, excess amounts of abdominal fat can be seriously harmful to your health and can lead to severe health problems like heart and cardio-vascular-related diseases and some sorts of permanent diseases like type 2 diabetes, characterized by high blood sugar levels. The deeper belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is not only found in the abdominal portions, but also in other parts of the body like under the layers of heart, lungs, skin, liver, and other parts, and organs of your body. So, it is okay to have normal, healthy fat, but too much belly fat is a matter of concern, and you must take steps to get rid of it in order to live a healthy and happy life.
What is Belly Fat?
Belly fat is a kind of abdominal fat that includes the deeper fat or visceral fat which lies deep into the abdomen covering several internal organs and comes with an extra layer of padding of fat tissues under the subcutaneous cells of your skin. High amounts of belly fat can be a potential risk factor for your health because excess belly fat can make your body develop a number of health issues including:
- Cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, heart failure, cardiac arrest, stroke, and many others
- High blood pressure
- Disorders related to cholesterol
- Breathlessness or shortness of breath
- High blood sugar levels in the body leading to disturbance in the levels of insulin in blood, causing type 2 diabetes
- Cancers like colorectal cancer
- Sleep apnea or insomnia
- Premature death for several reasons
Possible Causes of Excess Belly Fat:
The increase in your belly fat or overall fat depends on a number of factors. The most important of them are:
- The exact number of calories you have each day in your diet
- The amount of workout you perform each day to burn away the calories
- Your age: as you age, your body uses up the calories faster and your muscles diminish, which increases the number of calories in the body that is not used up completely during metabolism, and this leads to weight gain and abdominal fat.
- Too much consumption of calories and exercising too little a day can accumulate high amount of belly fat
Some other reasons behind excess belly fat:
Heavy Alcohol Consumption: Excess consumption of alcohol can cause the development of belly fat. This is because alcohol consists of high amounts of calories that are responsible for the accumulation of high amounts of fat in your belly. So it is always advisable to have alcohol like beer in moderation, maximum twice a day for men aged 65 or younger and once a day for women of the same age group.
What is the actual size of belly fat?
If you measure the circumference of your belly using a measuring tape, then if the tape measures above 40 inches or 102 cm in men and 35 inches or 88 cm in women then such a condition is termed abdominal obesity. (1)
How To Reduce Excess Belly Fat?
1. Workout Daily: The best way of reducing belly fat is to run, work out and sweat out every day in a proper routine. These types of exercises, including weight training, several sorts of cardiovascular exercises, and various aerobic exercises like swimming, speed walking, and running will not only decrease the abnormal fat from your belly but will also help in the benefit of your overall health, leading to proper digestion, absorption, all sorts of healthy body functioning and help in healthy weight loss. But it is to be kept in mind, to achieve the health benefits of exercise and to lose abdominal weight, one will have to stick to the healthy exercises every day and this process might take a longer period of time (almost 6 weeks) to reduce the circumference of the belly and thus lower down the fat from the subcutaneous and visceral layers of the abdominal muscles and belly cavity. Moreover, recent studies are revealing that several types of chronic inflammatory diseases, heart, and cardio-vascular-related disorders, and various permanent diseases like type 2 diabetes or high blood sugar levels, often caused due to excess belly fat can also be prevented by thorough exercises.
2. Cut Out Sugary Substances from Your Diet: If you want to get rid of belly fat, then it is necessary to avoid or limit the food substances that contain added sugar or foods with artificial sweetening substances. When you consume foods with high amounts of added sugars in them into your regular diet, then you are adding extra amounts of calories to your body which is not only leading to the development of abdominal fat but also causes an overall weight gain. This happens because sugar is mainly composed of glucose and fructose. Some new experiments and studies suggest that high consumption of foods with added sugars or artificial sweeteners can break down in calories, and this calorie surplus in your body leads to belly fat. Try to lower down the consumption of sugar-containing foods in your diet to lower down belly fat. Experts often advise cutting off sugary beverages like canned soda or even diet soda. You can replace them with healthy green tea which is a good detoxifier and rich in antioxidants. This will not only reduce your belly fat but will also increase your metabolism. Try having tea, coffee, juice, or any other beverages with added sugar or artificial sweetening agents.
3. Lower Down Your Carbohydrate Intake: High consumption of excessive carbohydrate-containing foods in your regular diet can lead to gaining weight and can result in abdominal fat. Recent studies show that when you minimize the amounts of carbohydrate-containing foods from your diet, then you are likely observing a significant reduction in your belly fat.
4. Add More Proteins and Fiber to Your Diet: Protein is considered one of the most important nutrients of a balanced diet. High consumption of protein is linked to greater metabolism of the food substances and nutrients from your regular diet. Having protein-rich foods reduces the excess amounts of calories in the body and thus helps to lower belly fat. It is highly important to include healthy protein-containing foods in your diet like boiled eggs, fishes like carp and salmon, chicken (avoid red meat), and dairy products like milk, curd, cheese, yogurt, and plant components like soya chunks, kidney beans, pulses, grams, and many others. These foods are significant potential to reduce your belly fat if consumed in correct proportions.
5. Have Fiber-Rich Foods: Dietary fiber is an essential part of a balanced diet that helps in body functions like metabolism, proper absorption, and excretion. The fiber that you consume through your body mixes with water and forms a gel-like substance that improves gut movement and thus helps to keep you regular and gives you a feeling of fullness. Thus, the consumption of high fiber in your diet can benefit your body to reduce excess belly fat.
6. Eat Healthy Fruits and Vegetables: It is necessary to consume plant-based foods in our diet to avoid the consumption of junk foods like pizza, burgers, cheese-containing foods like pasta, and many others. These types of fast foods are known to increase calories in your body, thus resulting in an increase in belly fat. Try to include plant parts like fruits, essentially seasonal fruits and green leafy vegetables, and whole grains or foods with multi-grains such as muesli, cereals, containing corn, ragi, wheat, maize, pulses, and various types of beans like kidney beans and soya beans. Add low-calorie and low-fat-containing foods like dairy products. In order to get rid of your belly fat, along with exercises and proper diet, try to cut off high- fat-containing foods or food substances with high amounts of saturated fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and trans-fat, like packaged foods and fried chips, nachos, French fries and so on. Reduce the rate of consumption of cheese, butter, ghee, or clarified butter, and several types of processed foods and red meats like pork, mutton, and so on. Reduce the consumption of chocolates, cakes, muffins, and other calorie-containing food substances.
7. Check the Portion of Your Food: While having foods in your diet, even when you are going for healthy food options, it is necessary to measure the number of calories you are having. To lower down belly fat, you can reduce calorie intake by lowering the amount of net food consumption through your diet.
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