A common myth about belly fat is that it is genetic. To start with, your genes alone aren’t to blame! While abdominal fat can depend on genetic factors, even someone who is not genetically predisposed to high levels of abdominal fat can develop it due to poor eating habits, lack of exercise, or inadequate stress management. In addition, hormones like cortisol, insulin, and estrogen have scientifically established relationships with abdominal fat. Low estrogen levels signal the body to gain weight, especially in menopausal women. Elevated cortisol levels due to exposure to stress are also known to cause abdominal fat accumulation. Insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are also strongly correlated to the development of belly fat.
Potential Dangers of Belly Fat
Excess belly fat has been linked with a number of health conditions. Here are some of the dangers:
- Heart Disease
A study by the American Journal of medicine (may 1977) of over 15,000 people showed that people with high levels of belly fat are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases than people with optimal belly fat levels whether they were overweight or not.
- Type 2 Diabetes
Excess visceral fat makes one more likely to develop insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to type 2 diabetes.
- High Blood Pressure
Excess belly fat can result in high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. In addition, it also spikes your triglyceride level and lowers good cholesterol
Cytokines released by visceral fat tissue can trigger cancerous activity in healthy cells and interfere with other hormones in the body. This means people with excess abdominal fat are more prone to cancers of the breast, kidney, colon, gall bladder, and pancreas.
- Sleep Disorders
High levels of belly fat have been linked to obstructive sleep apnea and related symptoms such as snoring, daytime sleepiness, and fitful sleep. Having a big belly and a fatty neck can trigger chronic, loud snoring and its partner, a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea stop breathing for a few seconds to more than a minute sometimes, hundreds of times a night. This disrupts their slumber, and they end up feeling exhausted the next morning. Losing weight can often help remedy the problem so you can get a better night’s sleep.
Conquering Belly Fat
The four most beneficial things you can do to reduce belly fat levels are:
- Eating Clean