Waist circumference, or the measurement around your abdomen at its narrowest point, is an important indicator of health. A growing waistline is a health risk and may be a sign that you are not getting enough exercise, have poor eating habits, or both.
Abdominal obesity has been linked to increased risks for liver disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and other conditions.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults maintain a healthy weight — defined as a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2 — to lower their cardiovascular disease risk. The BMI scale ranges from underweight (less than 18.5 kg/m2) to obese (more than 30 kg/m2).
If you are overweight, losing even 5 percent of your total body weight can help improve your overall health. And if you’re obese, losing 10 percent of your total body mass will likely lead to significant improvements in your health. Read on to find out how.
Why Is Belly Fat Dangerous?
Obesity is one of the most prevalent health issues in modern society. In fact, being obese has become a global epidemic. And while it might seem like just another weight problem, there are many serious consequences associated with having excess belly fat. For example, people with excess belly fat are more likely to develop diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, arthritis, cancer, asthma, depression, anxiety disorders and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Excessive belly fat increases the risk of developing several life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, certain types of cancers and dementia. It is also linked to chronic inflammation, which plays a role in almost every disease we know about.
How does belly fat affect your body?
When you gain weight, it tends to accumulate first around your midsection. This is because your body stores extra calories as fat when they are present in the form of food. When you eat too much, your body uses up these stored fats first before using them for energy. As a result, your stomach expands and becomes larger.
This condition is called visceral obesity. Visceral obesity is different from subcutaneous obesity, which refers to the amount of fat stored beneath the skin. While both kinds of obesity are bad for your health, visceral obesity is particularly dangerous because it puts you at greater risk for developing chronic diseases.
Visceral fat is made up of adipose tissue, which is found all over your body but mostly concentrated in your abdominal area. Adipose tissue is responsible for storing energy in the form of triglycerides. These triglycerides are then released into the bloodstream when needed.
However, when you store too much triglyceride in your liver, pancreas and muscles, it causes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to high blood sugar levels, which can cause damage to your organs and increase your risk of developing diabetes.
In addition, visceral fat releases hormones and chemicals that affect your appetite and mood. It also affects how your immune system functions and makes you more prone to infections.
Here Are Some Things That Cause Belly Fat
Excess belly fat is one of the most common problems facing people today. There are many factors that contribute to having too much body fat around the middle. Some of the main culprits include:
1. Poor diet
Having a poor diet and eating unhealthy food every day without exercising regularly can lead to gaining weight and fat tissue. You must eat a balanced diet by consuming healthy foods that can help you burn calories and keep you feeling full.
2. Too little sleep
Lack of sleep makes it harder to lose weight because it slows down metabolism. Get plenty of rest every day.
When we feel stressed out our bodies release hormones that make us want to store extra energy. This leads to us eating more and burning less. Try to relax whenever possible.
4. Being sedentary
Sitting all day long increases your risk of developing obesity. Be sure to take breaks throughout the day and do some physical activity.
If your parents had a lot of belly fat when they were younger, chances are you are likely to gain weight easily.
As we age, our metabolism slows down. This makes it harder to maintain a lean figure.
7. Hormone imbalance
Certain hormones play an important role in regulating hunger and satiety. For example, leptin helps regulate appetite while ghrelin stimulates hunger. A hormone imbalance could be causing you to overeat or have trouble losing weight.
Many medications can cause weight gain. Talk with your doctor about any new prescriptions you start taking.
9. Alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol can cause weight gain due to its ability to stimulate appetite.
Cigarette smoking has been linked to increased belly fat. In fact, smokers tend to have larger waists than non-smokers.
Widening Waistline, Growing Risks
In the United States, about half of adults are considered to be overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But even among those who don’t fit into that category, there are still plenty of people whose waists are expanding. And experts say that belly bulge isn’t just a cosmetic problem.
The extra inches around our midsections could put us at greater risk for serious diseases like heart disease and stroke. In fact, researchers recently determined that central body fat is linked to a much higher risk of death from any cause — including cancer — than overall body mass index. So what does that mean? Simply put, having a big gut puts you at risk for early death.
But while we know that a large stomach can lead to poor health outcomes, exactly how belly fat affects your heart is less clear. When researchers looked at data from nearly 4 million people across three different countries, they discovered that individuals with excess belly fat were twice as likely to die prematurely from heart disease or another cause. They also had a higher chance of suffering a heart attack or developing high blood pressure.
So why might belly fat affect your heart differently than other types of body fat? Experts aren’t sure, but one explanation involves hormones. Fat cells produce insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. A bigger belly can signal the pancreas to make more insulin, leading to increased blood sugar levels. Over time, this can contribute to damage to the arteries, which leads to heart attacks and strokes.
Women Seeking to Lose Belly Fat Should Take Action to Stop it From Returning
A study published earlier this month found that belly fat in women is linked to heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol and blood pressure. But while some people are naturally larger around their bellies, others gain weight there because of poor eating habits. Here are some tips to help you lose those stubborn pounds:
1. Eat breakfast every day
Eating breakfast sets you up for a successful day. Research suggests that people who skip breakfast tend to overeat later in the day.
2. Don’t drink soda
Soda contains empty calories and little nutrition. Instead, choose water, seltzer, unsweetened tea or coffee.
3. Limit alcohol
One alcoholic beverage per day is fine, but having three or four drinks daily can cause serious health problems.
4. Cut out processed foods
Processed foods often contain added sugar and salt, both of which increase your calorie intake without adding nutritional value.
5. Get moving
Exercise burns calories and boosts metabolism, helping you feel fuller longer. Try to get at least 30 min of aerobic exercise every day.
6. Watch what you eat
You don’t have to go low-calorie to lose excess weight; just watch how many calories you consume each day. If you want to cut back on calories, swap regular cookies for healthier options like oatmeal raisin cookies.
How to Lose Belly Fat Weight Fast: 6 Natural Ways
Many factors contribute to the development of abdominal obesity, but improving your eating habits, increasing your level of physical activity, and reducing stress may be helpful. Belly fat refers to abdominal fat, specifically fat that lies just beneath the surface of the skin. This type of fat tends to accumulate around the waistline because it is harder to burn off than visceral fat.
As discussed, visceral fat is linked to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, arthritis, sleep apnea, depression, infertility and even early death. In fact, studies show that women with the most belly fat are up to 30% more likely to die within 10 years than those with less.
The good news is that you don’t have to live with belly fat forever. You can reduce it naturally by following some simple tips. Here are 6 other natural ways to lose belly fat:
1. Increase fiber intake
Fiber helps you feel full, which may help you eat less. Fiber also lowers cholesterol levels. Try to get 25 grams per day.
2. Drink green tea
Green tea contains catechins, which have been shown to boost metabolism, increase metabolic health and burn fat. Drink one cup daily.
3. Take fish oil supplements
Fish oil has been shown to help with weight loss, but it’s not clear how much you need or if there are any side effects. Some studies suggest that taking omega-3 fatty acids may improve insulin sensitivity and lower triglycerides. Other research suggests that the benefits come from eating seafood instead of taking supplements.
4. Use lemon juice
Lemon juice helps boost metabolism and burn calories. Lemon also contains citric acid, which helps break down food so your digestive system works better. Citric acid boosts metabolism by helping your liver process fats.
5. Try intermittent fasting
Fasting for 16 hours or more every day may help you lose weight, according to research published in the journal Cell Metabolism. The study found that mice who fasted regularly were less likely to gain weight than those who ate all they wanted.
Researchers believe that fasting triggers your body into burning calories rather than storing them as fat. If you’re not used to it, try starting with one 24-hour fast per week. Gradually increase the time until you’re eating nothing but water for several days at a time.
6. Change up your workout routine
A great way to burn more calories is to change up your daily routine. This means that you should try something new every week or two. You may want to start with walking for 30 minutes three times per week. Then, if you feel comfortable with the amount of time you spend exercising, you can increase your activity level.
You can also add strength training into your weekly schedule. Try lifting weights at least twice per week. This will help you build muscle mass and burn even more calories throughout the day.
The takeaway health news is that if you want to lose belly fat, make sure you’re getting enough protein and cutting back on sugar and carbs. Also, drink plenty of water and cut out sugary drinks. Finally, be patient. Changing your diet and exercise habits takes time.
But over time, these changes will lead to a slimmer tummy.
Can belly fat cause erectile dysfunction?
Yes. According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, men with excess abdominal fat are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact, ED was reported in nearly half of obese men between the ages of 40 and 70.
What are the signs of prune belly syndrome?
Prune belly syndrome causes an enlarged stomach and protruding ribs. Prune belly syndrome affects males most often, although it can occur in females too.
How does belly fat affect fertility?
Excess belly fat can interfere with sperm production and motility, making it harder to conceive.
How can I get rid of belly fat?
Cutting back on junk foods and sweets is the first step toward losing belly fat. But don’t go overboard. Instead, eat healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts, beans, fish and olive oil.
And remember: Exercise is key! Try doing cardio exercises such as running, swimming, cycling and dancing. Or, if you prefer, you could take up yoga, Pilates, or other types of fitness classes.
Why is belly fat so dangerous?
Excessive belly fat puts you at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems.
Should I use vaginal probiotics?
Whilst there is no evidence that vaginal probiotics will help with weight loss, it has been shown to improve sexual function in both women and men. They work by increasing levels of estrogen and testosterone in the vagina. They can also boost libido and prevent yeast infections.
Can probiotics help you lose weight?
According to research published in the journal Obesity, people who took probiotics lost about 3 pounds more than those who didn’t.
However, researchers caution that while probiotics may help you shed some extra pounds, they won’t necessarily help you lose inches around your middle.
Can apple cider vingar help reduce belly fat?
Apple cider vinegar helps burn calories and increase metabolism. It has been used for treating obesity and type 2 diabetics. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which breaks down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. This makes it easier for your body to metabolize them.
It also stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
How do you tell if you’re drinking enough H2O?
Drink eight glasses of water each day. You should be able to feel thirsty between drinks.
Can prunes help you to lose belly fat?
A study published in Nutrition Research found that consuming prunes daily for 12 weeks helped participants lose 1.5 times more visceral fat than those who ate a placebo.
The researchers believe that prunes’ ability to stimulate the production of adiponectin, a hormone that promotes healthy cholesterol levels, could explain why they were so effective at reducing belly fat.