Having too much belly fat is definitely a bummer when you are trying to shop for new jeans or put on that swimsuit for that first day at the pool. This said, it is also linked with a smorgasbord of health problems like increased blood glucose levels, Type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Dr. Donald Hensrud, the chair of the division of preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic diet, said “There’s an increased risk of heart disease with increasing waist circumference or abdominal fat, and increased risk of overall mortality.”
So basically, if you can lose the belly, you’ll be happier and healthier.
According to Hensrud, there are two kinds of belly fat; subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Inside the abdominal wall you have visceral fat and outside the abdominal wall is subcutaneous fat, which is the fat that you can actually grab. It is usually assumed that visceral fat is more dangerous and is linked with more health risks. Most of the time, this is true, but there’s some evidence that subcutaneous fat can be harmful as well.
So what do you do if you are extra thick around the middle? Well there are steps you can take. First of all, if you drink alcohol, try to stop or cut down, especially if you like beer. If you can’t stop cold turkey, at least switch to light beer and try to limit your drinking to the weekends.
There is some evidence that points to skipping breakfast as being a culprit in visceral fat accumulation, according to Hensrud. He also said that some dietary patterns tend to affect fat distribution. One study revealed that a diet with 25 percent of calories coming from fructose was connected with a surge in weight gain.
I’m sure I don’t have to remind you to exercise when you are trying to reduce that belly, but forget about spot-reducing. Hensrud said “Either doing specific exercise, crunches, or wearing one of these belts around the middle things, it doesn’t work.”
The good news is that once you do begin to lose weight, you may notice it first in your belly area. According to Hensrud, visceral fat appears to be more metabolically active, so it’s accumulated and broken down more rapidly that fat in other areas.
Hensrud also said that two studies found that people who failed to lose weight during an exercise program still lost visceral fat in their abdomens.