The best way to lose belly fat is to understand why we have belly fat to begin with.

Why does belly fat increase with age?

  • Metabolism-As we age our metabolism slows down.
  • Genetics-Some of us are predisposed to belly fat.
  • Women tend to gain more belly fat after menopause due to hormone changes.
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Diabetes can also contribute to an increase in belly fat.

The belly fat will deposit in two areas of the abdomen,

  • Subcutaneous- Subcutaneous fat lies right below out skin
  • Visceral-Visceral fat lies within out abdominal cavity below the abdominal muscles and fascia. The fat is stored around organs and in the omentum. The omentum is a fatty layer which protects the intestines.

“When it comes to body fat, location counts”

  • Visceral fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat.
  • “One of the most important developments [since the mid-1990s] is the realization that the fat cell is an endocrine organ, secreting hormones and other molecules that have far-reaching effects on other tissues,” says Dr. Barbara B. Kahn, chief of the division of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.”
  • Fat can secrete biochemical substances that influence the body.

Visceral fat has been associated with an increased risk of,

  • Heart disease
  • Elevated cholesterol levels, higher LDL and lower HDL levels.
  • Insulin resistance.
  • Diabetes.
  • Dementia
  • Asthma
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

Reference http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/taking-aim-at-belly-fat

How does an increase in the visceral fat lead to increased risk of other diseases?

According to the NIH,

  • “Belly fat plays a part in developing chronic, or long-lasting, inflammation in the body.”
  • “Scientists have found that complex interactions in fat tissue draw immune cells to the area and trigger low-level chronic inflammation.”
  • The inflammation can contribute to the increased risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

What can we do to decrease belly fat?

Fiber intake can help reduce belly fat

  • Researchers at Wake Forest found, “that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. In addition, increased moderate activity resulted in a 7.4 percent decrease in the rate of visceral fat accumulation over the same time period.”
  • Reference Journal of Obesity June, 2011 Wake Forest

Whole grains can help you lose belly fat

  • Eating whole grains can reduce visceral fat
  • Reference Framingham study, Tufts University

Exercise can help reduce belly fat

  • Harvard’s website suggests 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day.
  • What is better for belly fat, Aerobic exercise or weight training?
  • Weight training is recommended for decreasing belly fat.
  • A study out of Harvard/s public health school followed 1000 men. Men who weight trained 20 minutes a day developed less abdominal fat.
  • Overall weight gain was less with the group who performed aerobic exercises.
  • “The best results came from combining weight training and aerobic activity.”
  • “Among various activities, weight training had the strongest association with less waist circumference increase. Studies on frequency/volume of weight training and weight circumference change are warranted.”

Reference ObesityVolume 23, Issue 2 February 2015 Pages 461–467

Do sit ups help you to lose belly fat?

  • Sit ups do not help as much as losing weight.
  • Sit ups can help tighten the abdominal muscles but do not get rid of visceral fat.

Reduce stress and lose belly fat

  • Increased stress may increase visceral fat by increasing cortisol levels.
  • Ensure you are getting sleep.
  • Practice stress reducing techniques.

What do you do to decrease your belly fat? 

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