How much flab you have in your abdomen has a big impact on your health. Losing fats in your midsection does not only improve your overall appearance – it also improves your quality of health and lowers your risk of certain diseases.
Health experts all agree – abdominal fat is the worst type of fat you can get. But what makes it so harmful? To understand its impact on your health, you should know first that abdominal fat comes in two different forms: the subcutaneous fat and the visceral fat. The first type of abdominal fat is like the fat elsewhere in your body. It may not pose danger to your health but it doesn’t do you good either. The second type of fat, called visceral fat, is one that surrounds your internal organs. Visceral obesity is linked to the risk of high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and heart disease.
Unlike the subcutaneous fats, the visceral fats cells release their metabolic wastes directly to the portal circulation, which carries blood straight to the liver. As a result, visceral fat cells are enlarged and stuffed by excess triglycerides, which deliver free fatty acids to the liver. These fatty acids also accumulate in the pancreas, heart, and other organs. This results to organ dysfunction, affecting your insulin levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Visceral fat has also been linked to dementia, and certain forms of cancer, such as breast cancer and colon cancer.
What causes belly fats?
Consuming too many calories can lead to an increase in your waistline. Any kind of calories – whether from fatty foods, alcohol, or oversized portions of food, can lead to belly fats. Abdominal fat is often called ‘beer belly fats’ because alcohol calories are so easy to overdo. A glass of beer for example has about 150 calories. And if you down several glasses in one sitting, you can get calorie overload. Not to mention the calorie-dense foods you eat along with your beer.
Abdominal fats tend to be more common among older people because as you advance in age, your calorie requirements also decline. Older people also tend to exercise less often so gaining weight is much easier.
But even if you have 6 pack abs, you still have belly fats. Whilst the most precise way to measure your belly fat is to undergo CT scan or MRI, you don’t need to get that far to realise the impact of visceral fats in your health. By simply using a measuring tape, you will have an idea of how dangerous the fats you’ve got in your abdomen are. Your waistline should be less than 35 inches if you’re a woman and less than 40 inches if you’re a man. More than this could pose serious risks to your health.
How to lose excess belly fats
There’s no magic bullet to reducing belly fat. It is a result of a combination of proven methods – proper diet, exercise, sleep and stress management. Reducing your calorie intake or limiting it to 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 calories for men, will reduce your chances of gaining belly fat. You should also avoid drinking alcohol, or if you can’t, opt for low-calorie drinks. Make sure to eat before drinking so you don’t get easily tempted by high-calorie bar foods. Furthermore, avoid consuming processed foods, saturated fats and high-fat meals. Instead, choose whole foods that are high in fibre and nutrients, and low in calories.
Exercising is also necessary to reduce belly fats. Doing sit-ups, crunches and other abdominal exercises will strengthen your core muscles, which in turn speed up the fat-burning process. You also want to reduce your body fat. It can be difficult to just focus on your abdominal fat and not on your overall body fat. Thus, doing aerobic activities like jogging, cycling, swimming and running is also beneficial.
Here’s the good news – belly fats are easier to reduce. When you start losing weight, the first thing you’ll notice is the reduction in your waistline. It’s because visceral fats are more metabolically active and can be quicker to burn than other types of body fat. So it is usually the first to go, especially if you have a lot to lose.
Come and visit Steve and have a quick Body Wrap, and/or register for Weight Loss Programmes. Whether you have 5 pounds or 5 stone to lose and how soon or long term you want to make it to your target, Steve will get you there!
Best wishes, Steve