It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man, a woman, a 30-year-old or a 50-year-old, that accumulation of fat on your abdomen isn’t exactly ideal. Not only does a “muffin top” hinder your movement and flexibility, but visceral fat (also known as belly fat) is also a huge risk factor for metabolic syndrome, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer and Alzheimer’s. So, losing excess belly fat is of the utmost importance, although doing that may be easier said than done.
This is primarily because while you may pick up a fad diet to lose belly fat, the key to this particular problem lies with your lifestyle. Sure, genetics, age and underlying health conditions may have a role to play in the accumulation but, in most cases, it’s how you live your life that dictates why you have belly fat. The following are some of the main reasons why you have belly fat and aren’t able to lose it as quickly as you probably gained it.
1. You love the wrong foods too much
Fried, junk, processed, sugary, cheesy and rich - if that’s how you like your food, then that’s the primary reason behind your visceral fat. All of these foods are packed with sugar, salt, trans fats and other unhealthy compounds your body finds difficult to metabolize and therefore stores as fat over your abdomen. Your diet should instead have fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts and seeds.
2. You smoke
If you think lighting up gives you better control over your appetite and helps you lose weight, here’s some news. Heavy tobacco use has been linked to an increase in visceral adiposity and abdominal obesity by almost all recent studies from around the world. Smoking may reduce your cravings, but it pushes all the fat deposits into the belly, leading to pot bellies.
3. You don’t drink enough water
Drinking sufficient amount of water throughout the day is very important for your metabolism. Not only does increased water intake burn calories, but it also flushes out all the toxins in your system. If you have belly fat and don’t drink enough water, it’s likely you won’t lose that weight unless you change this habit.
4. You are too stressed
For a lot of people, stress induces overeating - which is a top reason behind a pot belly as well as overall obesity. Increased stress can shoot up the cortisol levels in the body, which in turn can increase abdominal fat deposits. This increase in cortisol and belly fat is especially observed in the case of women.
5. You live without movement
There’s no healthy weight or fat loss without exercise. It’s simply not possible to lead a wholly sedentary lifestyle with minimal mobility and not gain a fair amount of fat around the abdomen. If you’re inactive then severe abdominal obesity is probably never going to resolve itself.
6. You love drinking beer and sugary drinks
Simple carbs are harmful and can lead to fat gain in the body - you might have heard this basic nutrition mantra, but do you know what it means? It means that excessive beer or sugary drink consumption (including fructose-packed energy drinks or diet soda) will inevitably lead to excess belly fat because these drinks are basically nothing more than simple carbs.
7. You don’t get enough sleep
Not only can sleeping less than five hours a day lead to weight gain, but it can also cause lethargy, excess appetite and other causes of visceral fat gain. Untreated sleep disorders are also linked to abdominal fat gain, so get enough sleep every night and consult a doctor if required.
For more information, read our article on How to reduce belly fat and get a flat tummy.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.