Unwanted belly fat is not only a cosmetic problem for many of us, but it can also be one of the more difficult areas to effectively target when trying to lose weight. Why should this be so?
It transpires that the origin of belly fat is more complicated than simply having an extra layer of fat beneath the skin; unfortunately, excess belly fat is also linked to a wide range of health problems. The older we get, the harder it is to lose the fat, and the potential for having these health complications also increases.
Why Is Belly Fat Especially Dangerous?
Fat accumulates in two main regions – between the skin and the underlying muscles (subcutaneous fat) and surrounding the internal organs inside the abdomen (visceral fat).
Visceral fat is physically located next to the body’s vital organs, has greater access to the blood supply, and is much more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat. It is more likely to affect the body’s hormones adversely and is linked to several health problems, including type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, dementia, and several types of cancer, including breast and colon cancers.
Contrary to common belief, you don’t have to be obese (or even overweight) to carry excess abdominal fat. The best indication of excess belly fat is your waist size – anything above 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men should be enough for you to take this problem seriously.
Differences Between Male and Female Belly Fat
As a result of hormonal and physiological differences, men and women tend to accumulate fat in different areas, and via different mechanisms.
Women typically carry more subcutaneous body fat than men do, primarily located in their hips, buttocks, thighs, arms, and lower abdominal areas. Menopause, however, results in many women also starting to accumulate belly fat.
Men are much more likely to accumulate visceral fat in their upper bodies, particularly around the abdomen.
Subcutaneous fat lies on top of the underlying muscles and is hence, more likely to appear as a soft or flabby layer beneath the skin.
Visceral fat accumulates inside the abdomen, as it causes the belly to bulge, and it tends to create a less flabby, harder belly.
The fact that men more easily develop fat bellies leads them to be more likely to develop the various health problems described above. Visceral fat is primarily caused by excess consumption of carbohydrates, and especially the quick-burning simple and refined carbohydrates found in white bread and processed grains, pasta, and especially processed foods containing added sugar, including the ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup.
Beer drinkers are also prone to accumulating visceral fat, leading to the well-known “beer belly” syndrome. Our livers burn alcohol in preference to fat, and excess alcohol consumption can also lead to fat accumulation, as well as a host of other health problems.
What Are the Best Ways to Target Belly Fat?
Women burn fat more easily than men do while exercising, whereas men are able to lose fat more easily through diet.
It’s not easy for anyone to lose abdominal fat just using exercise. Even if you increase the tone of your abdominal muscles, the most effective way to target excess fat is through a combination of adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise.
The more vigorous the exercise, the better, but if you lead a sedentary life adding even a 30-minute walk to your daily routine can have a significant positive effect.
There may be plenty of disagreement on the most effective diet, but there’s no dispute that a serious and sustained attempt to pivot towards a balanced healthy natural diet and away from processed foods, added sugars, and alcohol will give you the best chance to reduce your abdominal fat.
Limiting your overall calorie intake, eating adequate protein and fiber, and making sure to get enough sleep will all assist you in meeting this goal.
Your Laser Skin Care in Los Angeles
Your Laser Skin Care can help evaluate your body fat and can help recommend effective lifestyle changes to help you reduce your visceral belly fat. We also offer the CoolSculpting procedure as an effective way to remove excess subcutaneous belly fat.
Call us at (323) 525-1516 to schedule a free consultation, or visit us online for more information.