Belly Fat: 8 Reasons You Accumulate It
Most people have to fight against abdominal fat constantly, because fat in this part of the body is easy to accumulate and hard to remove. The abdomen is one of the areas of the body that can change the most, and putting on fat there can negatively impact your health. Research has shown that abdominal fat isn’t just an aesthetic problem – it can cause bone density loss, putting you at risk of osteoporosis and increasing your change of developing asthma. That’s why it’s important that you know what causes abdominal fat to build up so you can find the solution that’s right for you.
Researchers at the Sanford Burnham Institute have determined that genetics can cause fat to be stored in different parts of the body. Other studies have also shown that genetics play an important role in relation to how full each person feels. People who are genetically predisposed to eat more also tend to accumulate more abdominal fat. And if other members of your family have problem with this issue, you might also be more likely to build up belly fat.
Not getting enough sleep
People who don’t get enough sleep tend to consume more calories and store more abdominal fat. When you’re deprived of sleep your levels of the hormone leptin decrease, while levels of ghrelin increase, and both of these cause weight gain. According to some studies, people who only sleep for six hours a day have nearly a 27% more likelihood of being obese than those who sleep more than nine hours.
Just like poor sleep, stress also causes hormonal changes that can end up causing you to gain weight. According to Patricia Ramirez, a nutritionist, during times of stress our adrenal glands release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. When cortisol levels increase it triggers the storage of body fat, particularly in the abdominal region.
Lack of exercise
Getting regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep your metabolism active and burn more fat. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland found that exercise is a key part of achieving and maintaining an ideal weight, because belly fat is more than just a problem of appearance – it matters for your health. Burning fat through exercise is one of the best ways to ensure good cardiovascular health.
Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats is another major cause of the buildup of abdominal fat. Today’s supermarkets and restaurants are full of unhealthy options, and as a consumer you need to know how to identify them. Foods that are known to cause obesity include:
- Processed foods
- Cured meats
- Bleached flours
- Canned sodas
That’s why you need to outline a healthy diet for yourself that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and plenty of water.
Drinking too much alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol can cause weight gain, because you’re just drinking empty calories. In a study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high alcohol consumption can make people 50% more likely to store abdominal fat.
Some medications can cause weight gain if they are taken for too long. Drugs that are prescribed to treat diabetes, seizures, mood disorders, migraines, high blood pressure, steroids, birth control pills, and hormone replacement are among the usual suspects. But we should be clear that not all of them cause weight gain, and the effects can vary from person to person.
Snacking between meals
While eating several small meals throughout the day is a recommended technique to lose weight and boost your metabolism, eating unhealthy snacks between meals can cause the opposite effect. Foods like potato chips, cookies, and candies only increase your calorie intake and put on more abdominal fat.
What else can you do to help fight belly fat?
Whatever is causing your abdominal fat to accumulate, you need to find a way to fight it in order to prevent the associated health problems. Some key ways to combat abdominal fat include:
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Doing cardiovascular and localized exercises
- Sleeping at least eight hours a day
- Drinking plenty of water
- Detoxing your body
- Avoiding too much alcohol
- Chewing your food completely