Why Is Extra Belly Fat A Problem
Although we may affectionately refer to our extra inches as love-handles or describe ourselves as cuddly, carrying too much abdominal weight does have a dark side. Visceral fat although small in proportion to other body fat is active, which means it produces messengers that influence how the body functions. These messengers include pro-inflammatory cytokines and compounds which influence how hormones like insulin work.
What this means is that when visceral fat starts to accumulate it may become a risk to our health, increasing our chances of developing conditions such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia
You’ve Got Too Much Of The Wrong Gut Bacteria
Most of the bacteria that dwell in your gut are pretty useful. They produce hormones, regulate your immune system, digest food, extract nutrients, control your mood, manage your appetite and much more besides.
Now, two groups of beneficial bacteria are dominant in the human gut, the bacteroidetes and the firmicutes. However, the number of bacteroidetes is decreased in obese people when compared with lean people, according to research.
In another study, scientists took stool samples from 1300 twins and found that the less diverse your gut bacteria, the more likely you are to have belly fat. Grow your gut community to shed serious timber.
How Do I Know If My Belly Fat Is A Problem
An easy way to assess if there may be a problem is to measure your waist. Experts suggest that for women a waist measurement more than 80cm and for men more than 94cm suggests there may be an issue. These guidelines are adjusted for ethnicity with South Asian, Chinese and Japanese men recommended to have a waist circumference no more than 90cm. If your measurements exceed these guidelines and you are concerned, refer to your GP for further guidance.
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Exercise And Dieting Helps You Lose Belly Fat
So what can we do about tubby tummies? A lot, it turns out. The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity at least 30 minutes per day to control weight and lose belly fat. Strength training may also help fight abdominal fat. Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.
Diet is also important. Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help.
Scientists hope to develop drug treatments that target abdominal fat. For now, experts stress that lifestyle, especially exercise, is the very best way to fight visceral fat.
Total Belly Fat And Disease Risk
While subcutaneous belly fat isnt as strongly linked to disease risk as visceral fat, having high amounts of total belly and body fat is, so its essential to focus on reducing overall belly fat, not just the visceral type.
Studies show that excess body fat accumulation is a major factor in the development of insulin resistance, blood vessel dysfunction, fatty liver, atherosclerosis , high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome .
Research also suggests that people who have more visceral fat are at a greater risk of several health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic disease, fatty liver, and elevated heart disease risk factors like high blood fat and blood pressure levels .
Additionally, a study in over 36,000 people found that those with a higher amount of visceral fat than subcutaneous fat were more likely to die from any cause than those who had lower amounts of visceral fat .
Having a larger waist circumference is also strongly linked to increased disease risk. Waist circumference is a way to assess total abdominal fat, so both subcutaneous and visceral fat are contributing factors to this measurement .
Studies consistently show that maintaining a healthy waist circumference and reducing waist circumference through diet and exercise leads to significant improvements in many aspects of health, especially heart health and diabetes risk .
What Causes Visceral Fat
Fat gets stored when you consume too many calories and have too little physical activity. Some people tend to store fat around their belly rather than on the hips because of their genes.
In women, getting older can change where the body stores fat. Especially after menopause, womens muscle mass gets less and their fat increases. As women age, they are more likely to develop more visceral fat in the belly, even if they do not put on weight.
In men, age and genetics also play a role in developing visceral fat. Drinking alcohol can also lead to more belly fat in men.
Cashew Butter & Raspberry Smoothie
Another way to include protein in your smoothie may be unexpected: cottage cheese. This creamy dairy product is typically consumed by the spoonful, but it’s also a welcome addition to this creamy pink drink that features frozen raspberries.
Another source of protein in this smoothie is cashew butter, which Dr. Rosendahl says is a great addition to smoothies to lose abdominal fat:
“Nut butter is my go-to for incorporating protein and healthy fat into my smoothies,” says Dr. Rosendahl. “The protein and omega-3 fatty acids found in nut butters help you to feel satiated longer and promote balanced blood sugar until lunch time, both of which are important to successful and sustainable weight loss. I prefer almond butter, but cashew or walnut butter are other great choices.”
Get our recipe for Cashew Butter & Raspberry Smoothies.
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What Is Visceral Body Fat
Visceral body fat, also known as ‘hidden’ fat, is fat stored deep inside the belly, wrapped around the organs, including the liver and intestines. It makes up about one tenth of all the fat stored in the body.
Most fat is stored underneath the skin and is known as subcutaneous fat. That is the fat that is visible and that you can feel. The rest of the fat in the body is hidden. That is visceral fat.
Visceral fat makes the belly stick out or gives a person an ‘apple’ shape. It also produces chemicals and hormones that can be toxic to the body.
Visceral fat produces more toxic substances than subcutaneous fat, so it is more dangerous. Even in thin people, having visceral fat carries a range of health risks.
Visceral fat is more common in men than in women.
Making Lifestyle Changes To Lose Belly Weight
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Know Your Family Healthy History
If your parents or siblings have insulin resistance, heart disease or non-alcoholic fatty liver, you may be at a greater risk for storing visceral fat. Keeping an eye on your visceral fat may be beneficial, but know that the causes of these chronic diseases are complex. If youre in doubt, its best to speak with your healthcare provider.
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Swap Ketchup For Salsa
Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes to your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar up to four grams per tablespoon and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat at home without a diet. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.
Avoid Foods That Contain Trans Fats
Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats, such as soybean oil.
Theyre found in some and spreads and also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them.
These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies .
A 6-year study found that monkeys who ate a high trans fat diet gained 33% more abdominal fat than those eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat .
To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats. These are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats.
Some studies have linked a high intake of trans fat to increased belly fat gain. Regardless of whether youre trying to lose weight, limiting your intake of trans fat is a good idea.
Alcohol can have health benefits in small amounts, but its seriously harmful if you drink too much.
Research suggests that too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.
Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption to a significantly increased risk of developing central obesity that is, excess fat storage around the waist .
Cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size. You dont need to give it up altogether, but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help.
One study on alcohol use involved more than 2,000 people.
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Slow Down Your Eating
Eating slowly will also help cinch your waist, too. Inhaling croissants while run-walking to work will do little to satiate you not that youll do much digesting anyway, with all that cortisol flooding your system. Instead, by making time to eat and focusing on your food , youll wind up eating less and youll feel fuller for longer.
9. Get Quality Sleep
Multiple studies have shown an association between short sleep and weight gain. When youre low on Zzzs, activity in the brains frontal lobe is impaired. At the same time, the more primal parts of your brain that deal with things like desire and motivation are lit up like the Blackpool Illuminations.
Inadequate sleep also wreaks havoc on your metabolism. When the body doesnt get enough rest, it conserves energy by slowing down basic functions. The combination of untameable cravings, little willpower and inefficient processing is an open invitation for fat storage. Follow our advice to improve your sleep tonight.
How To Get Rid Of Visceral Fat
Visceral fat is found inside your abdominal cavity.
Carrying too much visceral fat is extremely harmful. Its linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and even certain cancers (
Fortunately, proven strategies can help you lose visceral fat.
This article explains why visceral fat is harmful and provides proven strategies to help you get rid of it.
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You’re Eating Trans Fats
If antioxidants are the good guys of gut health, trans fats are the super-villains. These sneaky fats actively contribute to your growing waist line not just by adding new fat, but by moving fat from other areas of your body to your belly. During a six-year study at Wake Forest University, monkeys that were fed an 8 per cent trans-fat diet had 33 per cent more belly fat than monkeys that were fed an 8 per cent monounsaturated fat diet.
There are currently no legal requirements for food manufacturers to label trans fats, according to the British Dietetic Association, so you need to check ingredients lists for hydrogenated fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils. The biggest culprits? Your cheat day favourites: cakes, biscuits, ice cream, popcorn, pies, fried food, fast food and takeaways.
Can I Store These Smoothies
Getting the smoothie ingredients in freezer packs and storing them for a few days and blending when necessary is a good option to use them later. Having said that, I suggest making the smoothies fresh as they have their nutrients intact and consuming fresh smoothies is a healthy way of consuming.
A simple solution is to make different smoothie packs and store them in the freezer if one has no time to make smoothies regularly. Also, if one plans to blend and store then store in the refrigerator for not more than 2 days. If stored and used, it loses its fresh taste and nutrient value.
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Approach All Of The Above With Self
Self-compassion is an attitude of generosity, honesty, and kindness towards yourself. It helps you see yourself clearly, and then take steps to help yourself.
But being nice to yourself to lose belly fat? Well, it sounds like a load of hooey, doesnt it?
Research shows self-compassion is linked to healthier eating and more consistent exercise habits30,31as well as lower rates of anxiety and depression, less perceived stress, and greater well-being overall.32,33,34
Conversely, self-criticism is linked to unhealthy eating behaviors, as well as higher rates of anxiety and depression.35,36
So what does self-compassion look like in practice?
There are three main elements:
Mindfulness: This is when youre aware of what youre doing, thinking, feeling and experiencing, but youre not judging yourself for it.
Example: Im feeling bad about my belly. And I notice that I also feel frustrated and impatient to change
Common humanity: Acknowledging that youre not alonethat everyone goes through what youre dealing with at some point.
Example: Thats okay. So many people struggle with aspects of their appearance.
Self-kindness: Being generous and decent to yourself.
Example: Take a deep breath. This body has carried me through a lot. Maybe I can do something small to care for it right now.
How To Get Rid Of It
Keep moving. Exercise can help you shed both visceral fat and subcutaneous fat you can see and pinch. And if you lose weight through diet, exercise can help you keep it off. Every bit helps. Go for walks after dinner. Take the stairs. Bike instead of drive. Aim for at least 30 minutes of this kind of moderate aerobic exercise very day.
Itâs also important to keep and to build your muscles. Work out with weights, do resistance training like push-ups and sit-ups, or practice yoga.
Eat smart. Studies suggest that more calcium and vitamin D in your body may be linked to less visceral fat. So load up on leafy greens like collards and spinach. Tofu and sardines are also good picks, as are dairy foods like yogurt, cheese, and milk.
On the other hand, certain foods seem to encourage belly fat. One of them is trans fats, which are found in meats and dairy as well as in deep-fried or processed foods. Also bad are sodas, candy, processed baked goods, and other foods sweetened with fructose. So read the labels and avoid ingredients like âpartially hydrogenated oilsâ or âhigh-fructose corn syrup.â And follow the usual rules for healthy eating, with lots of fresh produce, whole grains like wheat breads and oatmeal, and lean protein like skinless chicken, fish, eggs, beans, and low-fat dairy.