Belly fat, we all don’t want it. The fats that develops around the waistline; muffin tops, spare tires, love handles. It can also be a problem with thin people. Belly fat is dangerous because it contributes to a lot of health risks.
Belly fats are formed by 2 types of fats:
- Subcutaneous fats – fats under the skin in the thigh, hips, buttocks and abdomen.
- Visceral fats – fat surround the vital organs such as heart, lungs stomach and liver.
Body Mass Index measurement (BMI) does not show where the fats are stored. For women, waist circumference greater than 35 inches and men greater than 40 inches are considered as high belly fat.
The other way to measure is the waist to hip ratio; over 0.8 for women and over 0.9 for men
How do you develop belly fat?
As we gain weight, both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat increase. Where does the body store these fat depends on the gene, lifestyle, age and sex.
Men are more likely to deposit fat in the belly than women. Women tend to store more visceral fat after menopause.
Why is belly fat dangerous?
Belly fats are “biologically active”, producing hormone and other substances that affect our health:
- Cytokines, an immune hormone, that produce low-level of chronic inflammation and affect the cells sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure and blood clotting.
- Increase LDL ( bad cholesterol) and reduce HDL (good cholesterol)
- Increase the risk of developing insulin resistance, which will lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Increase the risk of colon and breast cancer
- Increase the risk of heart disease.
- Increase the risk of dementia
How to reduce belly fat?
Forget about spot exercise such as sit up. It may reduce and tone the subcutaneous fat but it does not reduce visceral fat. You should aim to do exercise to lose overall body weight. As you lose weight, you lose all types of fat.
Aerobic exercises help to trim subcutaneous and visceral fat. Walking is the easiest form of aerobic exercise and we only need to do brisk walks 30 mins everyday, is sufficient to give health benefits.
Anaerobic exercise such as weight training and circuit training burns 9 times more fat than aerobic and last longer after the exercise stop. Therefore, it is more efficient way of losing fat.
2) Eat a healthy diet
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. WHO (World Health Organization) recommends 5-7 portions of fruits and vegetables daily. Fruits and vegetables create acid-alkaline balance in the body, which prevents the body from storing fat.
Eat also complex carbohydrates from whole grains instead of refined carbohydrate from cakes, biscuits, pasta and white rice. Refined carbohydrate intake is the main cause of fat storage.
If you eat 5-7 portions of fruits and vegetables plus whole grain, you can ensure you have 25-30 mg of fiber each day. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into the blood as well as absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.
3) Get optimum sleep
Sleeping too much or too little can increase the build up of visceral fat. 6-7 hours of sleep is the optimum for adults.
4) Manage stress
Stress can be found in the environment, social and physical. The body responds to all types of stress by storing visceral fat.
Belly fat is difficult to remove, but if you follow the above tips plus be consistent and persistent, you should be able to achieve the results.
Do you have belly fat? Share with me how you reduce it in the comment below.
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