Surprisingly, everyone has some belly fat, even people who have flat abs.
But too much belly fat can affect your health in a way that other fat doesn’t. Some of your fat is right under your skin. Other fats are deeper inside, around vital organs like your heart, lungs, and liver.
This fat called visceral fat acts a cushion around your organs. Having too much visceral fat make likely cause bigger problems like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, chronic heart disease, dementia and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer (How to get rid of visceral fat).
In gaining too much weight, your body starts to store your fat in unusual places.
Conversely, many normal weight people have the metabolic problems associated with obesity (2). That’s because the fat under the skin is actually not that big of a problem (at least not from a health standpoint, it’s more of a cosmetic problem).
It’s the fat in the abdominal cavity, the belly fat, that is a problem (3).
If you have a lot of excess fat around your waistline, even if you’re not very heavy, then you should take some steps to get rid of it.
How to Measure Belly Fat?
Belly fat is usually estimated by measuring the circumference around your waist. This can easily be done at home with a simple tape measure.
Anything above 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women, is known as abdominal obesity (4).
There are actually a few proven strategies that have been shown to target the fat in the belly area more than other areas of the body.
Below are some simple scientifically proven ways of losing belly fat
1. Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your stomach and small bowel, and slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite (5).
What’s more, soluble fiber may help fight belly fat. An observational study of over 1100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period (8).
Make a conscious effort to consume foods rich in fiber every day. Excellent sources of fiber include but not limited to Brussels sprouts, Avocados, Legumes and blackberries.
2. Don’t eat a lot of sugary foods and sugar-sweetened drinks
Added sugar is very unhealthy (9).
When you eat a lot of refined sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is converted into fat (12).
Numerous studies have shown that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly (13).
Increase belly fat might interfere with your insulin signaling pathway and a host of other metabolic pathways (14). Liquid sugar is even worse in this regard.
Liquid calories don’t get “registered” by the brain in the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugar-sweetened beverages, you end up eating more total calories (15).
Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, per each daily serving (16).
Also, consider to completely eliminating sugary drinks. This includes sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, and various high-sugar sports drinks.
Note: This does not applies to whole fruits which are extremely healthy and have plenty of fiber that mitigates negative effects of fructose
The amount of fructose you get from fruit is negligible compared to what you get from a diet high in refined sugar.