A paunch or big belly doesn’t have any takers in the world of glamour. Or in the world of health! The truth is that belly fat puts you at high risk for many dangerous diseases and must be dealt with immediately.
Getting a toned body is hard work that requires dedication and commitment. And the one area people complain most about is the abdomen. While cosmetic concerns are the primary reason most people do hundreds of crunches and avoid foods that add to the tummy, there are greater health repercussions associated with a big belly. Which is why the belly has always been considered one the unhealthiest spots to have excess fat on the body.
Why is belly fat so bad?
Most people are not aware of the health hazards that high fat on the abdominal poses. Many experts believe that having a heavy belly is actually more hazardous then being obese or over weight.
Accumulation of “abdominal fat” leads to an increased waist size. Abdominal fat is popularly known as central obesity or belly fat. It is very important to know that the larger the waistline, the more you are at risk of developing a harmful disease.
The human body accumulates two types of fats on the abdominal area. ‘Subcutaneous fat’ is located beneath the skin and muscle fat. More dangerous is ‘visceral fat’, which is stored deep inside the abdominal area between the internal organs and chest. The reason this is more harmful than subcutaneous fat is because it releases more inflammatory molecules on a regular base which can increase the dangers of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and sleep apnoea.
The Body Mass Index popularly known as “BMI” is one of the popular tools used to measure body fat. However, the size of the waist gives a clearer idea of “belly fat”.
Experts suggest that women should keep their waist measurement below 80 cm (31.5 inches), and men below 90 cm (35.5 inches). Beyond those measurements, you then fall into the category of suffering from abdominal fat, one that needs to be dealt with on a priority basis.
Getting rid of that paunch
A heavy belly calls for an immediate change in lifestyle. The key to weight loss is a combination of a well-designed exercise program and healthy and nutritious diet. Crash diets are an absolute no-no. Remember, fat accumulated on the abdomen is stubborn. Routine exercises and crunches often don’t make a great difference. One has to do specific exercise specially meant for cutting fat on the belly. And it’s also important to work out regularly for a while before you will actually see any difference. So keep at it, and don’t give up if you don’t see instant results.
The other change you can make is to your diet.
Foods that increase belly fat include:
- Trans fats, found in many processed foods like biscuits, pizzas and many bakery products
- Sugars, found in chocolates and soft drinks
- Simple carbohydrates, found in refined wheat, white rice etc.
- Fast foods
- Creamy foods
Instead, consider adding these to your diet plan as they actually help in burning belly fat:
- Olive oil
- Dals and beans like rajma
- Whole grains
- Green vegetables
- Slim milk and yoghurt
- Tea – black and green
It is never too late to work on the excess fat accumulated on your abdomen. So before it brings you close to life threatening diseases, wake up and lose that belly!
Photograph via sxc.hu
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