Oh God! Why The Belly Fat! (and How To Lose It…)
This biggg blog post focuses on the Definition of Belly Fat, Types of Belly Fat, Causes of Belly Fat, the Effects of Belly Fat on our social life, general body health, and finally how to get rid of it!
What is Belly Fat?
“Fat” is an important component in food (similar post: 12 fat burning foods for Indians).
It contains numerous functions in our bodies such as mobilizing the fat stores when we get hungry; also, fat releases hormones that control our metabolism, according to Susan Fried from the Boston Obesity and Nutrition Research Center.
When fats get deposited and accumulate around the abdominal area, it results to a belly fat; other terms used to refer to a belly fat may include pot belly or bulging belly.
Types of Belly Fat
Before we look at the various ways to get rid of your unpleasant and unhealthy bulging tummy, understanding the nature of fats in our bodies is a crucial step. According to WebMD, there are various types of belly fat depending on the composition of our body fats; these include subcutaneous fat, intramuscular fat, and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is found slightly under the skin and above the stomach muscles; it is the stuff that you can pinch or grab.
The distribution of these fats depends primarily on our genetic make-up.
In some body parts, such as belly, thighs, and underarms, it might be thicker than others parts. Ideally, a moderate amount of subcutaneous fat is not dangerous to our health; in fact, it has some essential benefits to our general health and fitness.
For instance, it helps to keep you warm and contribute to overall body fitness.
However, too much of it, especially on the abdomen can be bad.
Luckily, people with more of subcutaneous fat respond instantly to Belly Fat Loss diet and exercises.
Intramuscular fat is the type of fat that runs through our muscles; it includes brown fat and white fat. Lean people tend to have more brown fat than other overweight or obese people; when stimulated, brown fat can be used to burn calories.
Studies have shown that increasing the brown fat can be an effective way to fight belly fat and other overweight conditions.
For instance, 2 ounces of brown fat at the abdomen can burn off between 300 and 500 calories a day, if maximally stimulated; this is enough to lose up to a pound of belly fat in a week. When activated, brown fat is used to burn white fat; research shows that white fat helps to store energy. Certain types of white fats called small fat cells are produced into the blood stream where they promote the secretion of insulin and other hormones.
Visceral fat refers to the deep fat that is located around the internal organs such as the heart, liver, and other vital organs in the abdomen.
A unique feature about visceral fat is that it is more dangerous and difficult to lose; a Belly Fat Diet targets this type of fat. People having large waists or bellies have plenty of visceral fats.
High deposition of this fat makes the abdomen protrude and appear hard.
Also, it is linked with insulin resistance, which increases the risks of diabetes, dementia, and heart diseases. This factor explains why belly fat will increase the risk of getting these diseases; the diseases occur due to various mechanisms.
According to research in Your New Secret Diabetes Weapon, A Flat Belly Diet comprising of monounsaturated fats are vital in promoting the breakdown of both subcutaneous and the visceral fat.
What Causes Belly Fat?
Have you ever tried asking yourself why some people do not shed off their stubborn tummy fat despite numerous efforts?
Or why other people continue to bombard themselves with some type of a high carb diet plan and junk foods but still have a flat stomach and remain thin? In other extreme cases, some will regain more pounds shortly after losing it.
These questions explain why having belly fat has more to do with your diet and your lifestyle physical activities.
I remember this day when a friend approached me asking how I could assist him to get rid of his bulging belly fat (especially since I am THE ectomorph in our circle!)… Previously, she had been attending these workout classes regularly and took a famous Flat Belly Diet for weeks. Surprisingly, she informed me how some of his others friend who were following the same diet and abs exercises had recorded a successful belly fat loss.
Most of us understand the simple facts that if you consume a diet high in calorie, you will stand at a greater a risk of packing some pounds at the adipose tissue around your waistline.
This condition will happen especially when you consume more calories than your body can burn them. Lack of physical activity will exacerbate this situation since it will result to low rate of metabolism, and thus reduce the process of calorie burning. Note that there are two stages involved when burning fat.
- Fat must be released from the fatty cells.
- The released fat must be translocated to the activated cells that will burn it to produce energy. Exercises help to increase the activation of cells.
Research has shown that while consumption of an improper diet and lack of physical activity are the major contributing factors, other factors such as genetic, hormonal changes, age, and stress contribute significantly. Therefore, let us look at how these factors influence the gain and loss of belly fat.
Hormones play a vital in determining the nature of the distribution of fats in our bodies in both male and females; they also influence the rate of metabolism in our bodies.
Men tend to have the upper belly fat due to their fat pattern storage mechanism. Women, on the other hand, tend to distribute their fat stores to the hips, thighs, and buttock.
This phenomenon is controlled by the levels of testosterone and estrogen hormones in both men and women; the hormone estrogen encourages the subcutaneous fat formation in women, which promotes distribution of fats deposits. Therefore, men will have a high risk of developing a belly fat compared to women.
However, as women get to menopause, they also display male pattern fat storage mechanism; according to a study from Yale University, the menopause stage reduces the secretion of female sex hormones estrogen.
Low estrogen production causes a shift in the fat stores leading to the accumulation fat around the abdomen rather than in your arms, legs, and hips.
As you age, the rate of metabolism also decreases, which increases the deposition of fat in your midsection.
The natural part of the aging process influences the resistance of our insulin; our cells tend to be more resistant to insulin. Insulin is known to induce the storage of belly fat; thus, consumption of more calories will result in belly fat.
Besides, aging leads to the decline in the production of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) hormone. Some studies associate this decline with an increase in the deposition of belly fat.
Our genes contribute to belly fat in various ways like regulating appetite and metabolism, satiety, body-fat distribution, and stress control. A study in the Journal of Diabetes shows that women tend to be more sensitive to an enzyme induced by Vitamin A contained in dietary fat.
This enzyme triggers the production of hormones that boosts the storage of fat in women more than men.
Also, hereditary genes explain why some people continue to accumulate belly fat and will not shed any belly fat even after numerous efforts. Your genetic make- up may be a strong predisposing factor that makes you store excess belly fat. Thus, the only way to prevent this abdominal fat would be to reverse how the fat genes are expressed in your physical make-up. Some diets such as Zero Belly Diet can be used to target the expression of these fat genes and turn them off.
Based on our genetic make- up, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science showed that individuals having apple-shaped bodies have reduced risk of getting the abdominal fat since the fats genes tend to express themselves strongly in other parts of their body, especially around the hips and thighs.
Ahh stress! Studies at Yale University found that when we get stressed, our bodies produce high levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that induces the insulin resistance. Thus, it alters your metabolic process and results in increased blood sugar levels making you gain stubborn belly fat. This mechanism explains why slender people with high levels of stress will have more abdominal fat.
How To Determine the Amount Of Belly Fat
Though it is hard to figure out the type of the belly fat, determining their quantity is a significant step before undertaking any flat tummy diet plan. One of the simple and perfect ways to do this is by measuring your abdominal circumference.
Generally, men with a waist circumference greater than 40 inches and women greater than 35 inches are said to have an over sized belly and stand at a higher risk of getting fat belly diseases.
Other tests such as abdominal ultrasound (measure fatty liver) and inflammatory markers like ferritin and hsCRP can be used to assess the amount of visceral fats in your abdomen.
Effects of Belly Fat on Our Social Life, General Body Health, and Body Fitness
Belly fat may impact negatively on our social life, general body health, and body fitness.
We live in a visual society where the appearance of our body contributes significantly to our daily lives. This also gives rise to weird fat loss solution like ingesting dietary fiber to lose weight!
That’s because an admirable and attractive body contour creates an equal proportion and a harmonious balance of other body parts and body structure.
Also, the appearance of our body helps us to boost our confidence and self-esteem. However, deposition of fats around the abdominal area results to a protruding or a bulging belly contour, which can negatively impact on the overall appearance of our bodies.
For most of us, having a belly fat creates a bad reputation and may ruin our level of confidence.
Having a bulging belly or tummy can affect our ability to carry out the activities of daily living. Essentially, it creates discomfort and interferes with our ability to perform daily chores like cooking, washing clothes, and even bathing. In other cases, it can create discomfort while sleeping besides affecting our sex life.
Most importantly, belly fat affects our general health.
According to a credible published study, excess abdominal fat is more dangerous than excess fat in other areas since it is metabolically active. Numerous studies have shown that it increases the risk of getting diseases and disorders such as diabetes type 2, dementia, cancer, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular diseases.
As a result, shedding off the belly fat and keeping body fitness has become an immense health concern in our lifestyles today.
According to a study published in Journal of the American Heart Association, the accumulation of visceral fat in your abdomen reduces the production of adiponectin, a “good guy” hormone. The secretion of this hormone is known to increase the sensitivity of the liver and muscles to produce insulin hormone; thus, the process helps to regulate the levels of blood glucose.
Research has shown that visceral belly fat may have a negative impact on your cardiovascular health. Essentially, the presence of these fats in the liver boosts the production of low-density protein (LDL). Over time, this cholesterol gets deposited in the blood vessels and heart muscle, which interferes with the supply of blood, thus leading to a high blood pressure and stroke.
In addition, the deposition of belly fat may result in development of dementia brain disorder.
In a Kaiser Permanente study, visceral belly fat promotes the secretion of leptin hormone.
Though it plays a significant role in suppressing appetite, leptin hormone may have adverse effects on the brain, causing dementia. According to the study, people with excess belly fat had an increased risk of developing dementia by 45% compared to those with a reduced amount of belly fat.
Visceral belly fat causes inflammation; in essence, visceral fat secretes certain compounds that control various immune responses during the systemic processes known to increase the early symptoms of chronic diseases.