5 Things No One Tells You About Belly Fat
Breaking down the basics of belly fat
Today, the best thing you can do for your health is this: take an honest measurement of your waist. Stand up straight, breathe out, don’t hold your belly in, and use a tape to measure your waist at the broadest part.
This measurement has a much greater impact than just aesthetics. In general, if your waist measures 35 or more inches for women or 40 or more inches for men, there is a high possibility that you are storing a potentially dangerous amount of abdominal fat.
So today, let’s figure out why this matters. Here are five things that nobody tells you about belly fat:
1. There are two types of belly fat
Abdominal fat has two types. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that lies just below the skin. It behaves like the fat on your thighs, arms, or anywhere else in the body, meaning it is not good for health, but it is not particularly dangerous either. The second type is visceral fat, which is found deeper inside the abdomen. It cushions important organs like the liver, pancreas, and intestines. Visceral fat is considered to be the more worrisome variety because it is associated with a higher rate of heart disease.
2. Belly fat is dangerous even if you aren’t overweight
Body fat around the middle is an important risk factor for heart disease, even in people who are not otherwise overweight or obese. Even people with normal body weights can accumulate harmful amounts of hidden fat beneath the abdominal wall. And this is not fat you can lose simply by toning up abdominal muscles with exercises like crunches or planks.
3. Belly fat secretes hormones
The fat cell acts as an endocrine organ that secretes hormones and a host of chemicals that link visceral fat to a surprisingly wide variety of diseases. Visceral fat makes proteins called cytokines, which trigger low-level inflammation. This is a risk factor for heart disease and other chronic conditions. It also produces a precursor to a protein that causes the narrowing of blood vessels, resulting in a rise in blood pressure.
4. Your genes play a significant role
Your genetic makeup is responsible for some of the amount of visceral fat you carry. Nevertheless, research shows that both your diet and your level of physical activity contribute to your levels of visceral fat. People who consume large amounts of calories and people who perform little or no physical activity are likely to have high stores of visceral fat.
5. There is only one proven way to lose belly fat
Despite the onslaught of workout videos, fad diets, and ‘lose weight quick’ solutions, there is no pill or potion that has been scientifically shown to dissolve abdominal fat. The only solution is to put in the work. You can only lose visceral fat by losing weight, and the only proven way to lose weight is by burning more calories than you consume. This means spending more calories with exercise and your everyday functioning than the calories that you take in from food.
A bulge in the belly is a wake-up call. If you can trim down your midsection, you’ll go a long way toward preventing the health problems associated with belly fat. A healthy lifestyle can ward off fat from top to bottom, and especially, the middle. And while a perfectly flat stomach does not necessarily need to be your goal, a healthier body certainly can be. Remember, the only person who can keep YOU the healthiest is YOU!
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