When it comes to fat, not all fat is created equal as many people might believe. The truth is that belly fat is more dangerous than other types of fat and should therefore be of greater concern to those who have it. Keep reading to find out more about why belly fat loss matters, and why it’s so important to focus on losing belly fat during a weight loss program, or planning your weight loss around losing belly fat.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- Visceral Verses Subcutaneous Fat
- Here are some of the health problems people with excessive belly fat may encounter:
- Here are some of the common causes of excess belly fat:
- Imbalance of Caloric Intake/Output
Visceral Verses Subcutaneous Fat
When you think about the fat that’s on your arms and legs, this is subcutaneous fat. It is stored below your skin and above your muscles. While any amount of fat anywhere in your body is not ideal, subcutaneous fat doesn’t have the ability to damage any important vital organs because it is located just below the skin. The worst this typically does is put more pressure on joints.
Visceral fat, on the other hand, is a large part of what makes up belly fat. This type of fat is not contained between the skin and muscles. It is also found within your abdomen around internal organs. This puts you in danger because your vital organs can be damaged by visceral fat, and this leads to a number of health problems.
Here are some of the health problems people with excessive belly fat may encounter:
Because cardiovascular disease is so strongly connected with the amount of belly fat a person has, belly fat is regularly measured to determine a person’s risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for people in the United States, which clearly shows that doing what it takes to lower your risk for developing it could save your life.
Cardiovascular disease encompasses several conditions which cause the heart to not be able to work properly.
These are typically caused by a decrease in blood flow which could be from a narrowing of blood vessels or a buildup of plaque on the inside of blood vessels which also prevents blood from flowing properly.
One of the biggest dangers of insulin resistance is that it can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Since excess belly fat can cause insulin resistance, it’s important that those who are looking to lose belly fat work to do so, especially if they have other risk factors of type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance can also lead to a gain in belly fat, making for a vicious cycle.
Stopping this cycle is vital to your overall health, and some people who have type 2 diabetes have found that by reducing belly fat through diet and exercise, they were able to improve their insulin resistance.
Some were even able to reduce the amount of medication needed to regulate their diabetes because reducing belly fat allowed their body to start working like it was supposed to again.
As extra visceral fat can keep the digestive system from working the way it’s supposed to, it can lead to a slow digestive tract or a buildup of toxins in the colon. These toxins and buildup of waste increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Although it is generally treatable when caught early, lowering your risk factors and avoiding developing cancer in the first place is always the best course of action.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the sufferer to stop breathing while sleeping, sometimes for just a few seconds, or sometimes up to several minutes.
This can happen once or twice during the night, or as many as 30 times per hour. In mild to moderate cases, sleep apnea leads to fatigue, decreased concentration, and irritability. In severe cases, it can lead to death.
Being overweight in general can lead to a higher risk of sleep apnea, but those that are packing more pounds in their midsection are at an even higher risk because of the additional pressure of the fat on internal organs.
Often, sleep apnea’s only cause is being overweight, which means losing excess belly fat will cure it in most cases.
High Blood Pressure
As your belly fat puts pressure on internal organs, blood flow is restricted which forces your heart to pump harder to make sure that you’re getting the amount of blood you need throughout your body.
However, over time high blood pressure does a lot of damage to the body, starting with damaging small blood vessels end ending with death caused by heart attack.
High blood pressure is also something that can lead to cardiovascular disease, and damages a number of organs as they are not meant to receive blood with such force.
Something else that high blood pressure increases the risk of is stroke because it can cause blood clots to form which, if they end up in your brain, will cause stroke.
There are a number of other ways that belly fat affects your body because of how intertwined it becomes with your vital organs. This means that excess belly fat can make nearly any disease worse, leading to premature death for any reason. This fact alone should be enough to encourage anyone to do what’s necessary to lose belly fat.
Here are some of the common causes of excess belly fat:
Unfortunately, where you pack on extra fat is tied closely to your genes, which means a quick glance around a family gathering can tell you a lot about why you may have extra belly fat.
This cause of belly fat should be no surprise since our genes direct every aspect of our bodies and the way they work. Genetics can be overcome, however, and don’t have to definitively determine how much you will gain.
As you age, you naturally begin to lose some muscle mass, especially if you are not staying active and making sure you regularly do some strength training to maintain it.
As you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows to meet your new needs. However, many people continue to eat the same amount, leading to a calorie excess that can lead to the development of belly fat.
For most people, as they age, they will need to eat around 200 – 300 calories less than when they were younger. This change starts in your 40’s, and continues from there.
If you are getting older and noticing an increase in belly fat, it could be due to this decrease in metabolism which means simply cutting a few calories from your day should solve the problem.
When you’re experiencing stress, your body releases a hormone known as cortisol. This hormone does a number of things in your body, one of which is encourages your body to store more fat in your midsection.
Although it’s not clear why this hormone works this way, numerous studies have found that people who experience prolonged periods of stress are more likely to gain belly fat.
For that reason, it’s important to do what you can to reduce the stress you are experiencing in your life in order to begin to lose belly fat.
If you don’t reduce stress, then you will find yourself fighting against your body to lose belly fat, which will make it more difficult.
The first step is to identify stressors in your life, then take steps to avoid those or reduce the stress they cause.
The term “beer belly” is more than just a reference to the shape of the belly of those who have excess belly fat. It may also be the cause of that fat.
This is because alcohol, beer in particular, contains a number of empty calories, so people who consume alcohol instead of water, for example, will often find themselves gaining weight for this reason.
Those who stick with specialty drinks may also gain just as much belly fat, as many of these drinks contain juices that are high in sugar which means they also have a number of calories, even though it may not seem like it.
Since both beer and specialty drinks tend to contain less alcohol than hard liquors, it’s easy for people to drink more and take in more calories than they realize.
Imbalance of Caloric Intake/Output
Overall, the biggest determining factor in gaining or losing belly fat is how many calories you are burning throughout the day compared to how many you are taking in through food and drink.
If you are taking in an excess of calories, then you’re going to gain weight. If you’re burning more calories than you’re eating, then you’ll be able to lose weight.
This is good news for people who are looking to lose belly fat since it means that it can be done, no matter what your other risk factors for developing it may be.
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