Having excess belly fat may be harmful to your health and put you at risk of developing chronic diseases. This explains why you should keep your belly fat and total body fat at a healthy level.
This article will discuss the types of belly fat and tips on how you can lose them.
Here’s something which many people don’t know — your belly contains only a tiny amount of fat compared with other parts of your body (1).
There are two primary types of belly fat — one lies under your skin while the other lies deeper inside the abdomen and surrounds your internal organs.
Subcutaneous belly fat is also known as subcutaneous adipose tissue. This is the fat that is found under your skin (2).
Subcutaneous fat is the soft fat that jiggles on your belly. There’s plenty of subcutaneous fat in women than in men (3).
There is no strong link between subcutaneous fat and increased disease risk (3).
However, it is essential to note that having plenty of fat in the body, generally, including belly fat, may put you at high risk of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers (1, 4, 5, 6).
On the other hand, keeping your belly fat at healthy levels may reduce your risk of developing a chronic ailment.
Visceral belly fat is also known as visceral adipose tissue. This fat surrounds internal organs such as your liver, kidneys, and pancreas. This means that your subcutaneous fat lies in the deeper parts of your abdomen than subcutaneous fat. Visceral belly fat is usually referred to as “harmful” belly fat.
Metabolic activities in visceral fat are higher than in subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat contains more cells, nerves, and blood vessels than subcutaneous fat (7).
There is a strong link between visceral fat and increased resistance to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance leads to elevated blood sugar levels over time and subsequent development of type 2 diabetes (8).
Visceral fat plays a role in systemic inflammation, which may increase your risk of disease (9, 10, 11, 12).
A sagging belly is visceral fat that spills off from the liver. It spills around the organs and within the organs. A hanging belly is dangerous because it can obstruct organ function. It also increases inflammation that can trigger other health conditions. A sagging belly is usually caused by excess insulin triggered by consuming too many carbohydrates or stress (cortisol). The best way to get rid of a sagging belly is by reducing the number of carbs you take and keeping your stress low.
This is not belly fat per se. An underlying liver condition may cause a protruded belly. At this time, the liver is damaged and leaks fluid from the liver into an abdominal sac. You’ll have to modify your lifestyle at this time. Vitamin E in the form of tocotrienols can be beneficial for cirrhosis. Taking 300mg 2–3 times daily will help. Eating cruciferous vegetables and a moderate to low protein intake may also help. It is essential to focus on supporting your microbiome. Focus on your diet and avoid some things.
This is superficial fat. It is usually caused by excess estrogen. Lower pooch is very common and generally not dangerous. This situation will benefit immensely from exercise, cutting your carbs, and intermittent fasting. It can also take a long time to get rid of the last little bit of belly fat. However, you can speed it up by taking specific actions, such as doing more fasting.
So now you understand the different types of belly fats and how they affect your health. But how can you lose these fats safely and sustainably?
Understand that, although lifestyle and diet play a significant role in accumulating belly fat, factors such as sex, age, and genetics also have an effect.
The good news is that there are several effective ways to lose belly fat. These include:
· Cutting out sugary beverages: taking sugary drinks in excess has been linked to increased accumulation of visceral fat and a large waist circumference. You may swap your sugary drinks (soda and the likes) with water (13, 14, 15, 16).
· Move frequently: increasing physical activity causes a significant reduction in belly fat. Mix up your workouts, such as high and low-intensity aerobic activity, together with resistance training. These have been proven to help reduce belly fat (17, 18, 19, 20, 21).
· Eat more fiber: high fiber diets contribute to a decrease in belly fat.
· Reduce your consumption of ultra-processed foods.
· Limit alcohol intake.
· Poor quality sleep is associated with the accumulation of visceral fat. Do not skimp on sleep.
· Increased protein intake is essential. Diets that are higher in protein may help reduce belly fat.
· Eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and beans.
· Follow a ketogenic diet to limit insulin spike and the storage of excess fat. If you tried keto before, but it just didn’t seem to work, read this article to understand further why that may be the case.
· Practice intermittent fasting. Check out a previous article that explains all the excellent health benefits of fasting.
Have you tried combing intermittent fasting and keto?
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