Belly fat refers to the fat located around the abdomen. There are two types of belly fat:
Visceral fat: This fat surrounds a person’s organs.
Subcutaneous: This is the fat that is under the skin.
Health complications related to visceral fat are more dangerous than those related to subcutaneous fat. Many lifestyle and diet changes can be made to lose belly fat.
7 causes of the occurrence of belly fat
Common causes of excess belly fat include:
1. Poor diet
Sugary foods such as cakes and candies, and drinks such as sodas and fruit juices, can:
cause weight gain
slow down a person’s metabolism
reduce a person’s ability to burn fat
Diets low in protein and high in carbohydrates can also affect weight. Protein helps a person feel full longer, and people who don’t include lean protein in their diet may eat more food overall.
Trans fats, in particular, can cause inflammation and lead to obesity. Trans fats are found in many foods, including fast foods and baked goods like muffins and crackers. It is better to replace trans fats with healthy foods made from whole grains, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
2. Excess alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to various health problems, including liver disease and inflammation. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to weight gain around the belly in men.
3. Lack of exercise
If a person consumes more calories than they burn, they gain weight. An inactive lifestyle makes it difficult for a person to get rid of excess fat, especially around the abdomen.
A steroid hormone, cortisol, helps the body control and manage stress. When a person is in a dangerous situation or under high pressure, their body releases cortisol, which can impact their metabolism. When feeling stressed, people often turn to food for comfort. Cortisol keeps those excess calories around the belly and other areas of the body for later use.
There is some evidence that a person’s genes may play a role in their obesity. Scientists believe that genes can influence behavior, metabolism and the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. Environmental factors and behavior also play a role in the likelihood of a person becoming obese.
6. Poor sleep
A study has linked weight gain to short sleep duration, which could lead to excess belly fat. However, causality cannot be inferred from this study. Short sleep duration is linked to increased food intake, which may play a role in the development of abdominal fat.
Not getting enough sleep can also potentially lead to unhealthy eating behaviors, such as emotional eating.
Researchers may not consider smoking a direct cause of belly fat, but they do think it is a risk factor. Although obesity is the same in smokers and non-smokers, smokers have more belly fat and visceral fat than non-smokers.
7 tips to lose belly fat
The following steps can help you lose unwanted belly fat:
1. Improve your diet
A healthy and balanced diet can help a person lose weight and also has a positive effect on their overall health. It is advisable to avoid sugar, fatty foods and refined carbohydrates with low nutritional value. On the other hand, they can eat lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.
2. Reduce alcohol consumption
A person trying to lose excess belly fat can watch their alcohol intake. Alcoholic beverages often contain extra sugar, which can contribute to weight gain.
3. Increase physical exercise
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to many serious health issues, including weight gain. People trying to lose weight should include a healthy dose of exercise in their daily routine. Doing aerobic exercise and strength training can help people tackle belly fat.
4. Get more sun exposure
Exposure to sunlight in animals could lead to reduced weight gain and metabolic dysfunctions. A review notes that few studies have looked at the effects of sunlight on humans with respect to weight gain, and that more research is needed.
5. Reduce stress
Stress can lead to weight gain. The release of cortisol, the stress hormone, influences a person’s appetite and can cause them to eat more. Stress reduction tactics include mindfulness and meditation, as well as gentle exercises like yoga.
6. Improve sleep habits
Sleep is vital for people’s overall health. The primary purpose of sleep is to allow the body to rest, heal and recover, but it can also affect a person’s weight. Getting enough quality sleep is essential to losing weight, especially belly fat.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking is a risk factor for increased belly fat, as well as many other serious health issues. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of excess belly fat and improve overall health.
A person who has excess belly fat is at a higher risk of suffering from various health problems. The causes are poor diet, lack of exercise, and short or poor quality sleep. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle can help people lose excess belly fat and reduce the risk of problems associated with this excess.
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