The hidden dangers of belly fat

Belly fat is not just a problem because it looks bad; it is also a strong risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some types of cancers.

The hidden dangers of belly fat
  • PublishedMarch 17, 2021

Belly fat is not just a problem because it looks bad; it is also a strong risk factor for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some types of cancers. Read on to know the causes of belly fat and how you can lose it.

udies show that men typically have more visceral fat than women and is stored in and around the abdominal organs. People who have greater fat stores around their thigh (glutealfemoral) regions are at a lower risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease than those with greater fat stores around their middle.

The two types of belly fat are:

Visceral: This fat surrounds a person’s organs and is stored around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines
Subcutaneous: This is fat that sits under the skin.

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One of the most common causes of belly fat is simply eating too much and moving too little. Your weight is largely determined by how you balance the calories you eat with the energy you burn. If you eat too much and exercise too little, you’re likely to pack on excess pounds including belly fat.

Sugary food, such as cakes and candy and drinks, such as soda and processed fruit juice can cause weight gain, slow a person’s metabolism and reduce a person’s ability to burn fat.

Your genes can also contribute to your chances of being overweight or obese, as well as play a role in where you store fat. Heredity is another factor. You might be genetically predisposed to gain weight in your middle more than other parts of your body. Hormones and hormonal changes as well as stress can also affect belly fat accumulation.

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Why is belly fat dangerous?
Basically for men, a waist measurement of more than 40 inches (102 centimetres) indicates an unhealthy concentration of belly fat and a greater risk of health problems.

Regardless of your overall weight, having a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, asthma, breast cancer, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Here are some tips that might help you lose belly fat.

Improving your nutrition, increasing activity, reducing stress and making other lifestyle changes can all help people lose unwanted belly fat.

Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks as added sugar is very unhealthy. Also minimise the amount of sugar in your diet.

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Replace high-calorie beverages like soda and fruit juice with green tea, coffee and ginger tea, which may help boost metabolism, minimise hunger and increase satiety, all of which can facilitate weight loss. These beverages also contain beneficial nutrients like antioxidants and other powerful compounds that can benefit your health.

Cut back on ultra-processed foods, bubbly drinks, and sugary beverages that can increase bloating. Opt for plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Go for lean sources of protein such as fish and low-fat dairy products and limit saturated fat found in meat and high-fat dairy products.

Lastly, being active in small ways throughout the day can make a big difference and also has health benefits. Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly such as taking a brisk 10-minute walk to and from your house or join an exercise class.

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