What is Belly Fat?
Belly fat is the fat around a person’s abdomen. Now, there are two kinds of belly fat. One is the visceral fat that is found in the spaces surrounding the liver, intestines, stomach, and other organs in the abdomen. Visceral fat is also stored in the omentum, that lies under the belly muscles and blankets the intestines. Incidentally, the omentum gets harder and thicker as it fills with fat.
And the second is the subcutaneous fat found under the skin surrounding the abdominal area. Of these two kinds of fats, the visceral fat is more harmful than the subcutaneous fat.
Who is Most Susceptible to Getting Excess Belly Fat?
First and foremost, your genetic makeup determines the amount of visceral fat you carry. However, a more significant player is your diet and your level of physical activity. For example, if you have a sedentary lifestyle and eat excessive calories, you are at risk of getting excessive visceral fat.
Now, males with a waist of 40 inches or more and women with a waist of 35 inches or more have an excess of visceral fat. In addition, Asian women with a waist exceeding 31.5 inches and Asian men with a waist exceeding 35.5 inches also have an excess of visceral fat.
Yet another sign of excess visceral fat is indicated by body shape. For example, an apple shaped body with big trunk and slim legs often means excess visceral fat in the abdominal area. By the way, apple shaped bodies are typically found in men.
Meanwhile, women with pear shaped bodies have bigger hips and thighs. So, they don’t have so much of the dangerous upper body fat. On the other hand, women with apple shaped bodies are likely to have an excess of the dangerous visceral fat.
Why is an Excess or Visceral Belly Fat Bad?
New evidence shows that the fat lying deep within the abdomen is a lot more harmful that the 90 percent of body fat you can pinch with your fingers. This is the subcutaneous fat. Meanwhile, the fat lying deep within the abdomen, known as visceral fat, is typically, only 10 percent of body fat.
However, visceral fat is harmful because it makes more of the proteins and hormones that can inflame your body’s tissue and organs. Furthermore, this inflammation can damage your arteries, enter your liver, and interfere with the way your body breaks down sugars and fats.
Also, visceral fat next to the liver can boost production of the bad cholesterol. In addition, the visceral fat can form plaque in arteries. And this plaque narrows the arteries. Which, in turn, raises your blood pressure, puts strain on the heart, and increases your risk of getting blood clots.
What Bad Things Can Visceral Belly Fat Cause?
Excess visceral belly fat increases the risk of developing one or more of the following:
- Blood clots
- Cancer of the breast
- Cancer of the colon
- Cognitive impairment
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attacks
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Metabolic syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes
Why does One Develop an Excess of Belly Fat?
You develop belly fat for one or more of the following reasons:
Sugary foods like cakes, candy, soda, and fruit juice likely cause you to gain weight, slow down metabolism, and reduces the ability to burn fat.
Eating a low protein high-carb diet. Now, proteins help you feel fuller longer. So those who do not eat enough lean protein tend to eat more unhealthy foods.
Next, a trans fats diet causes inflammation. Which, in turn, may lead to obesity. By the way, trans fats are found in fast foods, baked goods like muffins and crackers.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too much alcohol can cause liver disease, inflammation, and putting on pounds in the abdominal areas.
An inactive lifestyle such as excessively watching TV and/or working long hours, while seated, means you are not burning enough calories. Moreover, you are likely eating unhealthy foods and/or consuming too much alcohol. As a result, you are putting on the pounds in the wrong places.
When you are in a dangerous or high-pressure situation, the body releases the steroid hormone known as cortisol. Regrettably, cortisol negatively impacts the metabolic rate. So, people in stress eat more food for comfort. As a result, the excess calories remain around the belly and other areas of the body.
Sometimes, things are not always under your control. For example, your inherited genes can influence behavior, metabolic rate, and the risk of becoming obese.
Not getting enough sleep results in weight gain. In fact, insufficient sleep has been linked to food ingestion as well as a tendency to eat unhealthy foods. Both of which likely result in excess abdominal fat.
Finally, studies show that smokers tend have more belly and visceral fat than nonsmokers.