Belly fat is more unhealthy than you think. A little weight around the middle is normal, but excess stomach fat isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be deadly. Visceral fat is located deep in our abdomen and it wraps around our vital organs, which can cause major health problems like some cancers, stroke, type 2 diabetes and more. Reda Elmardica Registered Dietician, Certified Nutritionist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Trainer and owner of thegymgoat.com explains to us how to lose visceral fat and what causes it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID†
Elmardic says, “Belly fat is not only unsightly but can actually cause health problems. This type of fat is called visceral fat. Visceral fat surrounds your internal organs and has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. In fact, abdominal obesity is now considered to be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Abdominal fat is also associated with insulin resistance, which means that your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin† Insulin is a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. When insulin doesn’t work properly, blood sugar levels rise above normal. Over time, this can lead to serious health conditions like Type 2 Diabetes. Excess belly fat may also increase your risk of strokegallbladder disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and even cancer.”
Elmardic explains, “Carbs are your body’s preferred energy source. They provide quick energy that can be used immediately. However, they are not good for weight loss because they cause your body to store excess calories as fat. When you eat too many carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels rise and fall rapidly. This causes your insulin level to spike, which triggers your body to store any extra calories as fat† To burn off those unwanted pounds, cut back on refined carbs like white bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes. Instead, focus on filling your diet with high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and legumes.”
“Drinking enough water is essential for overall health and well-being,” Elmardi emphasizes. †Your body needs this liquid to help flush toxins from your system, regulate temperature, and maintain proper muscle mass† Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. If you find yourself constantly thirsty, then you may have low hydration levels. Try drinking some fresh lemon juice mixed with warm water to increase your fluid intake.”
Elmardic reminds us that, “Exercise helps reduce stress and improve sleep quality. It also boosts your mood and increases your confidence. A study published in the journal Medical Sciences revealed that people who exercise regularly have lower BMIs than their sedentary counterparts. In addition, regular physical activity reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, depression, anxiety, and cancer. Start small by walking briskly for 30 minutes three times a week. You can gradually build up your routine until you reach 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.”
Elmardic states, “Stress management techniques include deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and other relaxation methods. These practices have been shown to lower cortisol levelsa stress hormone that triggers abdominal fat storage.”
The following things can cause abdominal fat, Elmardic explains.
“Genetics plays a huge role in determining whether someone has belly fat or not. If your parents have it, then chances are that you will too. However, genetics do not determine if you will develop diabetes or heart disease. These conditions are caused by lifestyle choices.
Your diet can affect how much belly fat you gain† You should eat foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar. This helps control blood sugar levels and reduces hunger pangs. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables also keeps you full and prevents overeating.
Exercise is great for losing weight overall, but it’s especially effective at reducing belly fat. start small; go for 30 minutes three times a week. Work your way up to 60 minutes, five days a week. Make sure you work out at least twice weekly.”
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more