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.
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
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?