Body fats are not all equal, so this makes some more difficult to burn than others. For example, it is easier to burn fat around the kidneys and liver than to burn belly fat. Losing belly fat is one of the most difficult things to do; funnily enough, it is one of the most popular weight loss goals offline and one of the most searched questions on Google. There has been a rise in the sale of certain products that many believe can assist in losing belly fat. Some of these are tummy belts, waist trainers, slim tea, weight loss drugs, etc. However, these have not been scientifically proven to aid in the loss of belly fat. Belly fat is just one kind of fat found in the body; fats are found all over the body.
Fat is an essential compound needed by the body. Fat helps us retain body heat, preserve energy, and regulate hormones. There are two types of fat in the body – subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the kind of fat found in every part of the body under the skin, and it can easily be pinched. This fat protects the bones and muscles and serves as an energy reserve for the body. It helps the body maintain a regular body temperature, especially when the atmosphere is cold. Too much subcutaneous fat can lead to being overweight.
This is known as abdominal fat or belly fat and is found around the tummy and body organs, which include the liver and intestines; it is also known as hidden body fat or active fat. Visceral fat, which is found deep within your abdomen, cushions the organs and blood vessels. Small amounts of visceral fat are beneficial to your overall health, although an excess of it produces more chemicals and hormones that are harmful to your body than subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat makes up about one tenth of all the fat stored in the human body and is often a sign of a fatty liver, shown as a protruding belly. The presence of belly fat varies from person to person and from race to race. Blacks, Africans, and Hispanics are more prone to developing belly fat than people of other races.
This fat has been associated with heart disease, stroke, dementia, asthma, diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, and several forms of cancer.
Note: You may have a flat tummy and still have visceral fat. That’s sometimes called TOFI, or “thin outside, fat inside.”
Visceral fats can be very difficult to measure correctly, although certain measures can be taken to test for the possible amount of hidden fat in the body.
- Imaging tests: This is still the most ideal way of testing for visceral fat in the body. The imaging tests are the only way to check the exact amount of visceral fat a person has. It is also a very expensive test.
- Waist Measurement: The abdominal fat can be measured by wrapping the circumference around your waist with a tape measure. Any measurement above 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women is an indicator to abdominal obesity. This measurement is not applicable to all races. For example, for Asians, abdominal obesity starts for readings above 31.5 inches for women and 35.5 inches for men. This might not be the most ideal way of testing, especially in the cases of people with flat tummies. Waist measurements do not apply to children or pregnant women. Consult your doctor if you believe your waist measurement is too large.
- Certain Health Conditions: Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and high cholesterol are some of the conditions that are strongly linked to visceral fat.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) Test: The body mass index is another indicator to the presence of visceral fats in the body. It is used to measure a person’s weight relative to their height. A BMI range of 23-30 shows an excess amount of unhealthy visceral fat.
While belly fat will be very difficult to lose, there are ways to reduce it and ultimately get rid of it over time. It demands intention, discipline, and dedication to certain lifestyle changes. Below are effective ways of elimination belly fat
Refined foods, also called processed foods, such as wheat, cakes, and pastries, as well as carbs, are the leading causes of visceral fat. These foods are high in calories but low in essential body nutrientsnutrients. These foods also lead to hunger pangs, which means eating them will only make you feel hungry and want to eat more. The more you feed yourselves with these kinds of diets, the more the food is converted to glucose (simple sugar).
Excess sugar in the body is stored as visceral fat in sensitive organs of the body such as the liver, and too much of it can lead to insulin resistance, a situation where the body finds it difficult to regulate blood sugar. This condition often leads to the conversion of the sugar to visceral fat and, at worse, causes diabetes.
To prevent an abundance of visceral fat in the body leading to belly fat, consumption of carbohydrates should be reduced and refined foods eliminated from diets.
Carbonated drinks, also called fizzy drinks or soft drinks, sports drinks, coffee drinks, and sodas, have all been linked to weight gain and obesity. This is largely due to the excessive added sugar content in them. Some fruits contain high proportions of fructose, which is a sugar. The body doesn’t separate added sugar from sugars in fruits but sees all as the same, meaning a high consumption of any of these kinds of sugar will lead to the conversion of sugar to fat, which will be stored as visceral fat in the body, especially in the belly. Furthermore, beer and alcohol are high in complex sugar, and heavy consumption of these can also cause additional visceral fat. This is why many people who drink beer are often seen to have protruding bellies – belly fat as a result of a fatty liver.
Drink water often and sometimes, infuse cucumber or carrot into water before drinking.
There are healthy fats that, when consumed, help the body grow without increasing the overall body weight. Contrary to past health advice that encouraged the consumption of low-fat diets, recent research has promoted the consumption of healthy fats as they are very beneficial to the body. Saturated and trans fats are bad for the body and should be avoided. These types of fat increase weight gain, including belly fat, due to cholesterol. Unsaturated fats found in foods like olive oil, nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and eggs, are to be eaten as they can improve the body’s overall health and help increase satiety, which prevents hunger pangs that lead to constant eating.
Healthy proteins are eggs; lean meats – beef, lamb, pork, etc.; poultry – chicken, turkey, bush birds, etc ; fish and seafood – titus, tilapia, prawns, crab, lobster,etc. ;dairy products – milk, yoghurt (especially Greek yoghurt), cheese (especially cottage cheese)
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Non-sugary fruits and vegetables (particularly non-starchy veggies) supply critical nutrients and are low-calorie, healthful alternatives to refined carbohydrates. Having more calcium and vitamin D in your body may be connected to having less visceral fat, according to study. Potatoes, carrots, green peas, beetroots, and other starchy vegetables are high in vitamins and fibre. Increased consumption of fibre-rich meals has also been linked to weight loss. Due to the huge content of carbohydrates in starchy vegetables, they should be eaten in little quantities. Non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates but very rich in essential nutrients and vitamins. Some of the popular ones are broccoli, mushrooms, cucumber, onions, peppers, leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc), tomatoes, etc.
Probiotics are also food essential to maintain a good body weight and shape. Probiotics are good bacteria (Lactobacillus Gasseri) present in some food and they help prevent bloating, easing digestion. Some of the nutrients found in probiotics are vitamin K, folate (vitamin B9), biotin (vitamin B7), vitamin B12, etc. Probiotics also help the body to absorb essential nutrients such as magnesium, Calcium, and iron. Unsweetened Yoghurt, sauerkraut, cheese, fermented milk, fermented soybean, etc are some examples of food containing probiotics.
Sleep is essential for people’s overall health. It is required to help the body rest and recover after a long day of physical activity. Inadequate quality sleep has been associated with weight gain, including belly fat. Poor sleeping habits can cause an increase in cortisol – a hormonea hormone associated with stress. When released, cortisol raises a person’s hunger pangs, especially for sweet food.
In fact, a study suggests that people who slept 6 to 7 hours every night gained less visceral fat within 5 years, in comparison with people who slept 5 or fewer hours per night or those who slept 8 or more hours per night.
Lack of physical activity means sugars in the blood aren’t burned as quickly as they should, and redundancy occurs. Exercise helps the body lower blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, thereby eliminating belly fat. Aerobics or cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes is one of the most effective ways to achieve this. This includes running, fast-paced walking, biking, swimming, cycling, etc.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another great form of exercise to eliminate belly fat. This more rigorous process than aerobics pumps the heart faster, works on the entire body, and improves the general physical condition of the body. Examples are squatting, Push Ups, Sit up, high knees, etc.
Stress is a silent killer and has become a norm in our society; it is so bad that it affects a person’s mental and physical health. It is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Managing stress is an important factor to consider in losing visceral fat. When stressed, the body produces lots of cortisol, the stress hormone. An elevated cortisol level causes a spike in the sugar level in the body, which leads to intense cravings for sweet food. The result of this is an increased amount of sugar in the blood, which, as discussed earlier, would lead to weight gain, especially in the belly. Enhanced levels of cortisol as a result of stress cause fat to build up in the stomach, leading to weight gain. The longer a person is under stress, and enhanced levels of cortisol as a result of anxiety cause fat to build up in the stomach, leading to weight gain. The longer a person is stressed and anxious, the more weight he or she is likely to gain. You can try to relax with friends and family, follow the meditation, or even get counselling to learn a couple of ways to handle stress.
Stress can also come when a person over-exercises, especially with resistance and weight training. It is important to engage in mild exercise in order to achieve a great result and avoid stress.
You are more likely to gain weight, including belly fat, if you eat too much and exercise insufficiently. A calorie deficit is advised, and this occurs when food intake is lower than energy expenditure. Both extra subcutaneous fat and visceral fat can be burned with this method. Eliminating factors that cause you to eat more, while also managing stress will ensure that you lose a good amount of belly fat and have a good body shape. Age, especially in females, genetics, and illnesses are also factors that can contribute to an increase in belly fat.