Let’s be honest, belly fat doesn’t sound appealing however you put it. But did you know that this type of fat poses more danger beyond ruining your figure? Studies show that unlike subcutaneous fat, which is the kind that is directly under our skin, belly fat (or visceral fat) actually surrounds our vital organs and can cause serious health complications. Here are a few facts about belly fat that you need to know.
Genetics Can Be Cruel
According to experts, there are five known genes that can be passed on to make you naturally susceptible to fat around your stomach. Yes, that explains why some women can eat as much as they want and keep a flat tummy while some gain 2 inches on their waist just by smelling donuts. Now don’t just wallow on the couch with a carton of ice cream because of your genetic misfortune. Studies show that bottom line, despite genetic predisposition, body fat percentage can be managed successfully with proper lifestyle.
Check the Quality of your Calorie Sources
Struggling with belly fat despite counting your calories and macronutrients? Check your fridge and pantry again. Some food you eat may be filled with chemicals or hidden sugars that may actually alter the way your body stores fat. As a good rule of thumb, avoid packaged or canned food. Make sure to nourish your body with whole, non-processed food like fresh organic vegetables and fruits, and free-range, grass-fed meat.
Studies have shown that muscles at rest burn more than twice as much as the same amount of fat tissues. That’s right. The more muscles you build, the quicker your body burns fat, even if you are not actively exerting energy.
Up Your Protein Intake and Avoid Sugar
It has been discovered that women who get 30% of their required daily calories from protein lose belly fat 100% quicker than women who follow a low-protein diet. Also, protein causes the body to release of a particular hormone that decreases appetite and makes you feel full for longer. Make sure to include a significant amount of good protein in your diet like lean meat, fish, soy, yoghurt, eggs, and nuts. Now, which should you bump off your caloric allowance in favor of protein? Sugar. Observational studies have linked high sugar intake to abdominal fat. Visceral fat also decreases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, and insulin resistance can later on result to type 2 diabetes.
Control Your Stress Levels
Stress triggers the body to release a hormone called ‘cortisol’, which triggers the body to go into a conservation mode by eating more (increase in appetite) and storing fat in the middle area. This is the body’s way to conserve energy when it feels that danger is imminent. In prehistoric times, this hormone had helped our ancestors stay alert to avoid dangers and keep them from starving to death. Unfortunately, our brains cannot tell the difference between a lion that’s about to attack from a difficult boss. The solution? Make sure to give your mind a good rest. Sleep for 7-8 hours a day and include stress-relieving activities in your lifestyle. Meditation, yoga, or picking up a hobby are great ways to keep life’s stresses under control.
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