Weight Loss

Worried About Belly Fat? Here are the Possible Causes

Belly fat is a topic that is often discussed in health and fitness. However, it isn’t just for adults. It is even more important to understand the causes of belly fat, given the increasing obesity rates among children and young adults. Here’s the scoop before we get into how to reduce it. 

Belly fat can be caused by poor lifestyle choices, or factors beyond our control. Belly fat can be caused by poor eating habits and an unhealthy lifestyle. This is compounded when you add stress to your life by smoking and drinking excessively. Other factors, such as genetics or hormones, can also contribute to belly weight. Some studiesStudies show that hormones, pregnancy, and obesity are the most common causes of belly weight in women.

Individuals can control belly fat by making lifestyle and eating changes. You only need perseverance and the willpower to change your life for the better.

The Leading Causes of Belly Fat

A Sedentary Lifestyle

A lack of exercise and a sedentary life style are two of the main causes of belly fat. If one doesn’t burn as much calories as they eat, the extra calories are stored as fat in the body. Hence it is essential to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into one’s daily routine to keep your body agile and in shape.

Poor diet habits

StudiesStudies show that obesity and related problems in children is caused by poor eating habits. Junk foods, fried foods and preserved foods are high in artificial flavourings, synthetic additives, and excessive sugars.  They not only increase the risk of developing belly fat, but also cause many health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and other related conditions.

High-Stress Levels

When a person undergoes a  stressful situation, the body produces a chemical named cortisol to help one cope with the stress. The body can be seriously affected if cortisol is released for too long. . Binge eating can also be a result of stress, especially among teens and young adults. A slow metabolism and excessive calories can lead to fat accumulation, especially around the belly.

Genetics and belly fat

StudiesResearch shows that people with obesity-related genetics have a higher likelihood of accumulating fats around the stomach. These genes control how our bodies react and our metabolism rate. A person with a slower metabolism is more likely to have a larger belly.

Improper Sleep

Our bodies need sufficient time to burn up the excess energy and  resrtore themselves every day, which happens through proper and adequate sleep. Also, researchThis shows how our bodies are unable to regulate energy usage over the long term if we get too little or too much sleep. As a result, it reduces one’s metabolic rate and fat-burning abilities. Still, it also affects one’s mental health, which might trigger binge eating and anxiety eating problems that lead to excessive weight gain.

Excessive drinking and smoking

Excessive smoking and drinking can lead to increased belly fat. There are many. studiesResearch shows that those who smoke or drink more visceral fats than those who don’t.

Hormonal Shifts

Many women in their 50s and 60s experience an increase in belly fat. It’s due to menopause, when estrogen levels drop rapidly. The body stores most of the fat in the abdominal area rather than evenly distributing it. 

Postpartum and belly fat

Postpartum fat is the leading cause of abdominal fat in women. To ensure safety in the womb, the abdominal region must stretch out and contract during pregnancy. The mother’s body stores fat during pregnancy to provide energy. It also protects the child from any external injury. After the child’s birth, the skin and internal structure of the abdominal region need time to rearrange itself into the normal layout. Many times, the fat doesn’t get burnt out, causing a lower belly pooch.

After Effects

Anti-hypertensive medications, beta-blockers, diabetes medication, and medications for psychiatric issues such as anxiety, depression, and insulin injections can all lead to weight gain. This can also lead to slower metabolism and higher fat storage around the abdomen.

How to measure belly fat and how much is too much?

Excessive abdominal fat can lead not only to obesity, but also to many health problems. It is therefore important to understand how fat is stored and distributed in the body.  

How much belly fat is too much?

Apart from the external indicators and measurements of belly fat, it is essential to know the inside composition of one’s body. Our bodies have fats called visceral fat, which gets stored in a person’s abdominal cavity, near our pancreas, liver and intestines. It can also affect the function of hormones in our bodies. Excessive visceral fat can have many dangerous health consequences.

  • CT scans or MRI tests are the most accurate means of measuring visceral fats in one’s body. In a typical MRI scan, an individual’s visceral fat is between 1 to 59. 
  • A healthy person should have a visceral fat level below 13. 
  • Anything above or equal to 13 means that the person should make immediate lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments to bring the value back to normal.

Given that such tests are expensive for many, doctors often opt to measure a person’s overall body fat to know the amount of visceral fats stored. Harvard Medical School studies have shown that the visceral fats in an individual’s body are about 10 percent of the overall fat present.

Is it possible to measure belly fat at home?

There are many prescribed methods for measuring one’s abdominal fat levels. However, the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health studiesThese techniques have been proven to be the most accurate.

Body Mass Index (BMI).

BMI tells us about how ideal an individual’s weight is. It is calculated as weight(in kg)/ Height(m^2). The higher the number, the more overweight someone is.

  • An average person’s BMI should fall between 18.5 and 24.9
  • If their BMI is between 25.0 and 29.9, a person is considered overweight.
  • If their BMI is 30.0, or higher, a person is considered obese

BMI is the easiest way to assess a person’s weight but isn’t always accurate in cases like bodybuilders and expecting mothers.

Waist Circumference

The average BMI level does not indicate the distribution of fat within one’s body. Many times, extra fat is concentrated around the waist. Measure your waist circumference to get a rough idea.

All one needs is a measuring tape to measure the circumference of one’s waist size, i.e. Between the lowest rib (top of the hip bone) and the umbilicus (belly buttons). This is a measurement of excess belly fat, but it does not reveal any information about your body composition. 

Waist-To-Hip Ratio

The waist-to–hip ratio is the ratio waist circumference to hip circumference. The higher the ratio, the more fat is stored around one’s waist. It also considers that one’s body structure also dictates the waist to hip ratio. A pear body will have a lower waist to hip ratio than an apple body. Chronic health problems are most likely to be experienced by those who have a waist to hip ratio greater than 0.85 and women with a 0.9. It is also usually due to a loss of abdominal fat.

How to Reduce Belly Fat

The level of visceral fat in the body is a sign of our health. It is important to keep your body fat levels within a healthy range. You will need to make lifestyle changes to reduce belly fat and be determined to stick with them. 

Regular Exercise

It is best to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day to lose belly fat. One doesn’t need to start with intense cardio or heavy weight lifting. You don’t have to do intense cardio or lift heavy weights to exercise. It can be as simple and as easy as a 30 minute walk each day. It not only helps in keeping our bodies active and agile, but it also benefits our mental well-being, which eventually leads to a reduction in belly fat.

Clean eating

The type of food we eat heavily affects our body’s metabolic rate and how the calories get utilised. It is therefore important to carefully monitor what one eats. You must avoid junk, sugar-rich, and highly processed foods. They can lead to more fats being deposited in your body. You should eat plenty of fruits, greens, healthy carbs and fibre-rich food that will keep you full all day and provide nutrients and healthy fats to your body.

Managing Portion Sizes

While eating healthy may help to reduce belly fat, it doesn’t guarantee it. Even healthy foods can increase the amount of calories in our bodies. The body stores extra calories as fats when the calories consumed exceed the calories burned. It is hence equally essential to manage one’s portion sizes. To get the best advice, consult your doctor or dietician.

Besides these points, it’s important to hydrate well, sleep well and manage stress levels. Weight loss is achieved when all these factors work together, and not when one method is emphasized.

Conclusion

Belly fats are a great indicator of one’s overall health and determine the vulnerability of an individual to various health complications. Because it is so close to many vital organs of our bodies like the liver, pancreas and intestines we need to keep our body fat, particularly visceral fats, within a healthy range in order to maintain proper bodily functions. CT and MRI scans can give us an accurate measurement of visceral abdominal fats. However, these expensive measurements are not widely used to determine the amount of belly fat. Popular measures include the BMI and the hip to waist ratio. Individuals with high abdominal fat levels need to make changes in their lifestyle and dietary habits so that their fat levels are lower.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs).

Q. Q.

A. A healthy diet and regular exercise are the best ways to reduce belly fat. You should exercise at least 30 minutes each day and eat healthy, homemade meals. In just a few months, belly fat can be significantly reduced by cutting down on sugar, preserved foods, and eating fried foods.

Q. Q. Which foods are most likely to cause belly fat?

A. A. High levels of belly fat can also be caused if you eat a lot of sugar and Omega 6 fatty acid foods, smoke, or lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Q. Which 5 foods can be used to burn belly fat?

A. These are the top five foods that can help you burn belly fat.

  • Green tea with honey and lemon.
  • Citrus fruits, 
  • Foods high in fibre, such as oats or barley, are examples. 
  • Sweet spices such as cardamom or cinnamon are excellent.
  • Foods rich in omega3 fatty acid, such as cod liver oils, are a good choice.

Q. Q.

A. A. The most important factors are the calories consumed, the type and frequency of physical activity, and the amount of calories. A woman’s genetics can lead to a large stomach. These genes can lead to fats being stored mainly around the stomach. Women also experience hormonal shifts as they age. Menopause can cause a drop in estrogen levels, which causes fat to be stored rather than being distributed throughout the body.

Q. Q. What fruit can reduce belly fat?

A. Fruits which have high water content and are rich in Vitamin C and fibres are  best for reducing belly fat. Belly fat reduction is possible with fruits such as grapefruits, apples, berries, and berries. They promote fullness and prevent binging 

Q. Q. Does rice increase belly fat

A. studiesStudies have shown that there is no direct relationship between rice consumption and belly fat. However, excessive consumption of white refined rice could lead to an increase in belly fat. It can also lead to obesity. Many dieticians recommend eating rice in small amounts because rice is one the easiest foods to digest. Rice is rich in energy and healthy oils, making it a great choice for those who want to eat healthy.

Q. Q. Are bananas good for your belly?

A. Bananas have a higher calorie count than other fruits. People believe that bananas lead to more belly fat than other fruits. This assumption is false. Studies by UPenn’s Medical School show that bananas are filling, nutritious, and easy to digest, making them a quick source of energy. It helps to lose more belly fat when you exercise.

Q. Q.

A. The simplest way to flatten out one’s stomach naturally is by exercising regularly and eating clean. This not only helps our bodies to gain healthy fats, nutrients, which aids in the natural process of fat loss, but it also keeps our hormones and stress levels under control.

Q. Q. Do eggs help to burn belly fat?

A. Yes, eggs can reduce belly fat. Because eggs are low in calories, they help speed up metabolism and burn fat faster, which leads to faster belly fat loss. 

Q. Why is my belly getting bigger even though I’m not pregnant?

A. There are many reasons why a belly bulge might occur other than pregnancy. Bloating, which occurs when the stomach traps too large amounts of gas, causes our bellies protrude outwards. Bloating can also be caused by excessive stress, alcohol intake, and hormonal changes associated with menopause.

Q. Q.

A. A. Due to slowing metabolism, most people will develop a belly as they age. It can become dangerous for your overall health and well-being if it reaches the point of being obese or overweight. It is important to prevent the accumulation of unhealthy fats.

Q. Q.

A. Hormonal belly usually occurs in women in their late 40s or 50s. It occurs when hormone levels begin to decline. The sudden decline in oestrogen levels causes the fats to get stored in one’s tummy rather than getting spread out proportionately across the body.

Q. Q.

A. A. To have a flat stomach, you should avoid binging, excessive drinking, and smoking at all cost.

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