The Dangers of Belly Fat
There are many health benefits to losing weight and dropping body fat. You can extend your life, reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, improve your sleep quality, libido, and mood, and feel more comfortable wearing your favourite clothes. You can also avoid several health issues. In this article, we will be looking into the dangers of belly fat and how to prevent it.
Belly fat is mainly made up of visceral fat. This is fat that surrounds your organs. It is more dangerous than regular (subcutaneous) fat, as it is more likely to cause cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and inflammation.
Now that we know the dangers of belly fat, we can look at what causes belly fat, what other risks it can lead to, how to prevent it, and how to reduce it via diet and exercise.
The Dangers of Belly Fat
As we age, many of us will begin to see increases in our body fat. There are many reasons for this, but primarily due to lifestyle changes such as exercising less regularly. Increased body fat is by no means certain, but your likelihood increases with each passing year.
There are many dangers associated with a high level of belly fat. For example, you are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular or metabolic diseases like type II diabetes . Belly fat can also cause chronic inflammation, increasing the likelihood of certain cancers.
Belly fat has also been associated with an increased risk of liver conditions . It can also affect your sleep quality, mood, and appetite, and it can lower men’s testosterone levels. Overall, your lifespan can be severely reduced if your belly fat becomes too great.
What is Belly Fat?
The term belly fat is not a scientific one. A more accurate term would be abdominal fat. Your abdominal fat is made up of subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is fat that lies beneath the surface of your skin. Around your abdomen, the subcutaneous fat sit between your skin and your abdominal muscles.
Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds your organs. It is located behind your abdominal muscles. It is much more concerning than subcutaneous fat, as it is much more likely to cause health complications.
It is essential to understand that belly fat comprises both subcutaneous and visceral fat. Several articles online appear to assume that all belly fat is visceral. Therefore, it is possible to have a lot of subcutaneous belly fat and a low amount of visceral fat. Sadly, the opposite is also true. Without expensive testing, it is impossible to know.
Of course, having lots of subcutaneous fat is not a good thing either! So, if your goal is to reduce your body fat, you don’t need to worry too much about what your belly fat is made up of. You can mitigate subcutaneous and visceral fat using the same techniques (diet, exercise, lifestyle changes).
What Causes Belly Fat?
Men are more likely to gain visceral fat than women. This is most likely due to how the male body stores dietary fat after a meal . This does not mean that you should immediately start a low-fat diet. Instead, it explains why men are more likely to store visceral fat while women tend to store subcutaneous fat.
The causes of abdominal fat, both subcutaneous and visceral, are the same as any form of body fat, a calorie surplus. This is where you consume more calories than you burn during the day. The body stores the excess calories as adipose tissue (body fat).
Weight management is a simple process, even if it isn’t easy to do in real life:
Calories in (food, drink) vs calories out (exercise, non-exercise activities, metabolism)
Think of your body as a bank account and calories as currency. If you spend more money than you earn, your bank balance will become smaller. However, if you save more money than you spend, you can expect your bank balance to grow.
The longer you stay in a surplus, the more fat is accumulated. This fat will be spread across your body, not just your abdomen, but it is your abdomen where the majority of fat will be stored. For women, the areas where fat is stored are often around the hips.
How to Reduce Your Belly Fat
If you are looking to lower your body fat levels and get rid of visceral fat, you can make many lifestyle changes. Ideally, you would change all aspects of your life simultaneously, but focusing on just one or two can have substantial health benefits.
If you want to burn fat, you need to either reduce the number of calories you consume (diet) or increase the number of calories you burn (exercise). The type of exercise you need to do will vary from person to person.
If you haven’t exercised in a long time, even something as simple as walking more during the day can be effective. First, get yourself a step counter and find what you usually walk per day, then try to increase this.
Resistance training (weights, machines, bodyweight exercises) is the most effective for burning fat. If you have access to a gym, creating a full-body workout can be ideal.
Cardio workouts (running, swimming, cycling) are great for beginners and can also help to improve your cardiovascular system. If you enjoy playing sports, joining a club or playing with friends regularly can be perfect for fat loss.
There are a lot of articles and adverts out there for “this one food that can burn belly fat”, but the reality is that reducing body fat is all about sustainable changes to the composition of your diet: fewer calories, more protein, more fibre, and a lot of nutritious fruits and vegetables.
Taking a meal replacement such as Instant Knockout Complete is one surefire way to reduce your daily calorie intake while simultaneously increasing protein and fibre. Both of these are highly satiating, meaning that they make you feel fuller for longer, making calorie deficits easier to maintain.
You don’t need to follow any specific diet. Just find one that suits you. For example, some people find intermittent fasting quite effective, while others prefer to improve their meal quality and pay more attention to serving sizes. Others may find that calorie counting, combined with If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), works best for them.
The relationship between lousy sleep and weight gain is well established. A 2010 study found a significant correlation between bad sleep habits and visceral fat accumulation in men . Poor sleep can lead to increased weight gain, reduced testosterone production, reduced daily movement, and increased appetite. So the increase in visceral fat should be no surprise.
Adult men should be sleeping between 7 and 8 hours each night, though the older you get, the less sleep you require. Improving the quality of your sleep is just as important. Creating good sleep habits such as going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning can help improve sleep quality.
Stress is a natural part of life, and it would be foolish to try and remove it entirely from your day. However, too much stress can have a massive impact on your health. When we are stressed, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone. This helps regulate our body in times of stress and can have many uses. However, if we remain stressed for long periods, our cortisol levels will remain chronically high. This can affect appetite, sleep, mood, and heart health.
You may not be able to avoid stress altogether, but you can make an effort to reduce your risk of exposure. For example, giving yourself more time to get to work will reduce the likelihood of being late, which is a common stressor. Avoiding friends or family members who bring drama with them is another example.
Finding better ways to deal with stress is also very helpful. Therapy or techniques such as CBT can help in this regard. You can sleep better and eat more intuitively by lowering your stress levels and improving how you deal with stressful situations. You should start to see fat loss results, particularly if you combine your stress management with the other lifestyle changes on this list.
We’ve already mentioned how meal replacement shakes can help your weight loss journey. Still, other options include protein shakes, natural testosterone boosters, and natural fat burners such as Instant Knockout Cut.
Fat burners can help by improving your appetite regulation, allowing you to feel better while dieting. They can also help improve your metabolic rate. They do this by increasing your thermogenic rate. This can help you burn more calories either while exercising or at rest.
To get the best results from any supplement, you need to combine it with the mentioned lifestyle changes. For example, add a fat burner or meal replacement shake to a new diet and exercise regime, and you can expect better results than you would otherwise.
The Dangers of Belly Fat: Final Thoughts
Visceral fat is a scary topic, and many articles tend to focus on how different it is from regular subcutaneous fat. While it does differ in some respects, we think focusing on how it differs is a mistake. Instead, you reduce visceral fat in the same way that you minimise regular fat through diet, exercise, stress management, and good sleep hygiene.
Making sensible changes to your lifestyle will help you burn that excess belly fat, improving your life in many other ways. For example, boosting your mood, giving you more energy, improving your focus and cognition, and restoring your testosterone levels.
Don’t overthink the problem. Instead, focus on making minor changes to your lifestyle and building on them with time. If you can stay motivated and focused, you can expect excellent results within just 12 weeks and life-changing results after that.