Lose That Belly Flab
More than a “fashion inconvenience” i.e. clothes that suddenly feel a little too snug and jeans that suddenly refuse to button up; belly fat can pose more serious health implications that extend beyond one’s physical aesthetics.
The main thing to note is the difference between subcutaneous fat versus visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat as the name implies, refer to the layer of fats that reside just under the skin. Cellulite is the uneven appearance/dimpling effects that occurs due to uneven subcutaneous fat deposits under the skin. Though excess subcutaneous fats could be an eyesore, they typically do not affect our health as much as visceral fat does.
Visceral fat is a type of body fat that’s stored within the abdominal cavity. It’s located near several vital organs, including the liver, stomach, and intestines. It can also build up in the arteries.
Visceral fat is sometimes referred to as “active fat” because it can actively increase the risk of serious health problems.” One of them is increased insulin resistance, even if you’ve never had diabetes or prediabetes. Research has found that this may be because a retinol-binding protein that increases insulin resistance is secreted by this type of fat.1 Visceral fat can also raise blood pressure quickly, promoting inflammation which increases the risk of Cardiovascular Disease, plague in the artery, stroke and heart attacks.2
Factors that contribute to an unhealthy accumulation of visceral/belly fat:
• Sedentary lifestyle: A sedentary lifestyle slows down our body’s metabolism resulting in weight gain and a reduced ability to burn fat.
• Unhealthy food choices: Diet that consists of fast food, processed food, sugar-laden food and simple carbohydrates are high in calories and does not make us full, causing to us to crave for them more and overeat.
• Prolonged stress: When we are stressed, the levels of stress hormone, cortisol rises. The increase level of cortisol in our body, leads higher insulin levels which causes our blood sugar to drop, increasing cravings for sugary and fatty food.3
• Slower metabolism: As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down, and total body fat gradually increases. Women tend to gain more belly fat as they get older. This is likely due to the decreasing level of estrogen, which affects the body fat distribution, causing more fat to be directed to the abdomen.4
Concerned about your belly fat? For times when you need an extra boost, LAC LeanCut™ Belli Lean™ which is formulated with a synergistic blend of herbal extracts and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT), can step in to aid your efforts in reducing belly fat and increasing metabolism/burning of visceral fat.
Belly Facts or Fiction
We’ve compiled some other common “hearsays” with regard to belly fat and we setting the records straight on BELLY Facts versus Fiction. So keep reading!
1. A big belly is fine as long as you maintain a healthy BMI
FICTION: Body Mass Index (BMI) is just one of the three key measures of overall health. The other considerations are waistline and waist to hip ratio. Your BMI is a rough measure of body fat, whereas a larger waistline is a possible indication that you might be carrying excess abdominal fat. Research has shown that men and women with a large waist circumference were more likely to pass on at a comparatively younger age than their slimmer peers; even if their BMI is in the "healthy" range.3 As an indication, man with a waistline of more than 40 inches (101.6 cm) or a woman with a waistline of more than 35 inches (88.9 cm) carry a higher disease risk.5
2. Belly fat is more dangerous than other fats in your body
FACT: As mentioned earlier in the article, visceral fat lies deep inside our abdomen and surrounds several vital organs including our liver, stomach and intestines. Having excess visceral fat contributes to increased risk in developing several serious long-term, life-threatening medical conditions such as:
- Heart attacks and heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Fatty Liver 6
FICTION: The order in which fat is lost in our body is dependent primarily on our genetics. Factors like our hormones and metabolism also play a part.7 Our genes control both how we store and lose fat, hence, there is no one size fits all guideline. If you are prone to gaining weight in your belly, consider changes to your diet, such as reducing your intake of refined carbs and increasing your intake of fiber-rich foods, and increase your physical activity.
4. Excessive intake of alcohol is most likely to be stored as belly fat
FACT: There is good reason why the term “beer belly” came about. Alcoholic beverages, as with all foods containing calories and carbs, when consumed in excess, it all adds up. Combined with the lack of exercise and excessive drinks over a prolonged period of time, it really adds on to your waistline.
As a quick reference, a 12-oz (355-ml) serving of regular beer, with approximately 4% alcohol content8:
- Calories: 153
- Alcohol: 14 grams
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
For more on how alcoholic beverages can contribute to weight and waist gain, read here.
5. You can lose belly fat by doing targeted exercises like sit ups
FICTION: Spot reductions do not work. The body mobilizes fat from all over your body and not just from one place. As such, it’s important to burn fat all over your body and not just in one spot.9 Exercises such as sit ups do strength your core muscles, which does help. But the belly fat that sits on top of those muscles will melt away with a better diet, and by doing cardiovascular exercises such as aerobics, and improve your muscle tone through strength training.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading and learning more about belly fats and their effects on our health. Working towards and maintaining a healthy physique takes work and commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Rather than hoping on the latest diet/fitness fads, being conscientious when making dietary choices and having the discipline to make healthier choices and setting aside regular time for exercise will provide for a more sustainable approach toward maintaining good health and your desired physique.
1 Visceral fat and insulin resistance--causative or correlative? (Frayn, K. N.), https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10889795/
2 Obesity and Inflammation: One Size Never Fits All (Elks, C. M., 2018) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5952402/
3Can Stress Cause Weight Gain? (Breeze, J.) https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1
4 Belly fat in women: Taking — and keeping — it off (Mayo Clinic Staff) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/belly-fat/art-20045809
5 Why Waistline Matters and How to Measure Yours (Marcin, A., 2019) https://www.healthline.com/health/waistline#overview
6 Lipids in the Wrong Place: Visceral Fat and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (Perseghin, G., 2011) https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/34/Supplement_2/S367
7 Where Do You Lose Weight First? Doctors Explain (Crain, 2020) https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/a19901505/where-do-you-lose-weight-first/
9 Muffin Top: 7 Ways To Lose That Stubborn Belly Fat (Mulumba, P.) https://longevitylive.com/anti-aging-beauty/muffin-top-hacks-stubborn-belly-fat/