Carrying excess belly fat can be a concern for many people. However, it’s essential to pay attention to belly fat due to its association with health risks, including increased risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. For women, a waist circumference of 35 inches or more can increase health problems’ risk. For men, it’s 40 inches or more, according to Mayo Clinic. This article aims to provide insights into the dangers of belly fat and explains how to lose it effectively.
The Dangers of Belly Fat Some of the health risks associated with too much belly fat include type 2 diabetes, specific types of cancer, heart attacks, liver disease, high cholesterol, and inflammation.
13 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Belly Fat To slim down your midsection and get rid of belly fat, here are some daily habits and lifestyle changes you can make:
Reduce added sugar intake. Avoid alcohol. Eat more vegetables and fiber-rich foods. Make healthy, balanced food choices. Pay attention to the type of carbohydrates you consume. Manage stress effectively. Exercise regularly. Focus on core strength. Get more sleep. Track your diet and exercise progress. Combine targeted approaches to tackle belly fat. Make an effort, even if you can’t exercise as much. Limiting Added Sugar Grace Derocha, a national spokesperson and registered dietitian at the Nutrition and Dietetics Academy in Detroit, explains that refined sugar from foods and drinks (those not naturally found in foods like fruits) can cause inflammation in the body. While inflammation is part of the healing process, too much inflammation can have harmful effects. When there’s too much inflammation in the body, it prefers to store fat inside and around the abdomen for easier access to energy.
Sugar can also cause the body to store more midsection fat by raising blood sugar and insulin levels. The body doesn’t respond to naturally occurring sugars found in healthy, plant-based foods like it does to sugar. Foods containing naturally occurring sugars also tend to have higher chances of supporting better health with fiber and vitamins and minerals. Unprocessed foods with low amounts of naturally occurring sugars are also helpful for managing and preventing diabetes, but it’s best to seek guidance from a healthcare provider or registered dietitian for personalized advice if you have diabetes.
Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian based in Sparta, New Jersey, and author of the book “Belly Fat Diet For Dummies,” advises limiting added sugar to less than 10% of your total calorie intake. For example, if you’re targeting 1,800 calories per day, the added sugar shouldn’t exceed 180 calories. Apps such as MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople can help track calories, closely examine the foods you eat and monitor where these calories come from.
ShaNay Norvell, a fitness coach from Florida, highlights that sugary drinks are an easily overlooked source of added sugar. Sugary drinks can give you a quick energy boost, but it’s followed by a sugar crash and energy dip. They may be more delicious, but they contribute to belly fat and hinder you from achieving your health goals.
Alternative Options to Sugary Drinks Some alternatives to sugary drinks include coconut water, hot water with lemon or other fruits, sparkling water sweetened with 100% fruit juice, unsweetened tea or coffee.
Pay attention to food labels to watch out for surprising hidden sources of sugar, such as canned beans, cereals, diet biscuits, low-fat yogurt, ketchup, salad dressing, and spaghetti sauce. Joel Totoro, a registered dietitian and sports science director at Thorne HealthTech in Providence, Rhode Island, emphasizes that homemade seasonings and sauces are often tastier and contain less sugar.