Belly fat is a problem for most people, especially for the overweight, and it’s about time to face the facts; belly fat is never going away by itself. You can’t get rid of it by wearing a corset, doing thousands of crunches, or running a marathon. To get rid of belly fat once and for all, you need to take real science-backed action.
Below, we discuss some tips to manage Belly fat the scientific way.
Understanding Belly Fat
Belly Fat is sometimes called visceral fat or abdominal fat. Visceral fat is located within your abdominal cavity, packed around your internal organs, including the heart and liver. Abdominal fat is sometimes called “potbelly” fat because it tends to accumulate below your waistline.
This type of fat is particularly dangerous because it produces hormones that raise blood pressure and increase cholesterol levels. These circumstances can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
What Causes Belly Fat?
The most common causes of belly fat are:
- Genetics. If you have a family history of obesity, you are more likely to struggle with weight management.
- Exercise. There is no hard evidence that workout directly leads to weight loss, but it is clear that people who are more physically active tend to have healthier body fat levels.
- Diet. People who eat lots of high-calorie junk foods are more likely to have excess belly fat. Diets high in saturated fats and trans fats are also known to contribute to obesity.
- Sleep. Sleep helps the body repair tissues that have been damaged during the day, which can lead to more belly fat being stored overnight if you don’t get enough sleep.
- Hormones. Overactive thyroid hormones can cause unexplained weight gain in some people.
The bottom line is that many factors cause belly fat, but ultimately it’s up to you to learn what causes belly fat for yourself and how you’ll handle it without letting it get out of hand.
Identify the Cause of Your Belly Fat Before Implementing a Strategy
Before you decide that you need to go on a diet, you should first try to identify the cause of the fat accumulation.
If your belly fat results from lifestyle factors, it’s best to change those behaviors. For example, if over-eating and not getting enough exercise are contributing factors, the best remedy is implementing changes to address those issues.
But identifying the cause of belly fat can be a tricky affair because of the natural differences in our body types. For instance, naturally thin people can consume large amounts of sugar without gaining weight, while others gain almost instantly even when consuming small amounts of sugar each day.
There is no real way to avoid this other than to monitor how your body reacts to carbohydrates and what types of foods contain them.
How Do You Know If You Have Too Much Belly Fat?
The most accurate way to determine if you have too much belly fat is to measure your waist. In men, a waist size greater than 40 inches indicates too much belly fat for men. In women, anything greater than 35 inches is a red flag.
You can check by measuring your waist size with a tape measure or using a measuring tape just above your hip bones where your body bends when you sit down. You want to take this measurement at the end of the day–if you measure just before eating dinner, you will have a wrong reading because you have a full stomach.
After measuring your waist, use the test results to decide on a fat loss regime.
Science-backed Belly Fat Management Strategies
If you’re overweight, it’ll be harder for you to lose belly fat than if you’re of normal weight. That’s because having more body fat makes losing body fat harder, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). But losing weight doesn’t mean your metabolism is working more effectively, says Jaime Van Zandt, MD, an endocrinologist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. “Metabolism is still driven by diet,” she says.
You can adopt several belly fat loss strategies without a significant overhaul of your diet or lifestyle. Here are some science-backed strategies that can help:
- Consume plenty of soluble fiber
- Cut back on alcohol
- Avoid sugary foods
- Avoid sugary foods
- Adopt a high protein diet
- Manage your stress
- Avoid carbs — more so refined carbs
- Keep off foods containing trans fats
- Do cardio exercises
That’s not all; there are myriad other ways to manage belly fat. You can do further research to make an informed decision.
When it comes to belly fat, it’s not just a question of how much there is, but what is causing it. In most cases, belly fat is merely an accumulation of fat in an otherwise slim person. However, it can be a sign of a more serious condition in some cases. Knowing the difference can help you avoid misinformation from well-meaning friends and family members.