There are many reasons why one can gain belly fat. These include: poor diet, lack of exercise and stress. Improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, reducing stress, and making other lifestyle changes can help lose unwanted belly fat.

Abdominal fat refers to the fat that is around the abdomen. There are two types of abdominal fat:

– visceral fat: This fat surrounds a person’s organs.

– Subcutaneous: This is the fat that is under the skin.

Visceral fat complications are more dangerous to health than subcutaneous fat. There are many lifestyle and diet changes you can make to lose belly fat.

Why is belly fat dangerous?

A poor diet can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Being overweight is one of the leading causes of serious illness.

Excess abdominal fat can increase the risk of:

  • – heart disease
  • – heart attack
  • – high blood pressure
  • – heart attack
  • – Type 2 diabetes
  • – asthma
  • – breast cancer
  • – Colon Cancer
  • – Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia

The main causes of abdominal fat

Common causes of excess belly fat include:

1. Poor diet

Sugary foods, such as cakes and candies, and drinks, such as sodas and fruit juices, can be implicated, they can:

  • – cause weight gain
  • – slow down a person’s metabolism
  • – reduce a person’s ability to burn fat

Diets low in protein and carbohydrates can also affect weight. Protein helps a person feel fuller for longer. People who don’t include lean protein in their diet may eat more food overall. Trans fatty acids, in particular, can cause inflammation and can lead to obesity. Trans fatty acids are found in many foods, including fast food and baked goods. Better to start by replacing trans fatty acids with healthy whole grain foods, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Reading food labels can help you determine if their foods contain trans fats.

2. Too much alcohol

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to various health problems, including liver disease and inflammation. Excessive alcohol consumption causes men to gain weight around the belly, although the results of studies in women are conflicting.

3. Lack of exercise

If a person consumes more calories than they burn, they will gain weight. An inactive lifestyle makes it difficult to get rid of excess fat, especially in the abdomen.

4. Stress

A steroid hormone, cortisol, helps the body control and manage stress. When a person is in a dangerous situation or under high pressure, their body releases cortisol, which can impact their metabolism. People often seek out food to comfort themselves when feeling stressed. Cortisol causes excess calories to stay around the belly and other areas of the body to be used later.

5. Genetics

There is evidence that a person’s genes can play a role in whether or not they become obese. Scientists believe that genes can influence behavior, metabolism and the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. Likewise, environmental factors and behavior also play a role in the likelihood of people becoming obese.

6. Bad sleep

A lack of rest can have an impact on well-being. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine links weight gain to short sleep duration. Both poor sleep quality and short duration can play a role in the development of belly fat. Insufficient sleep can potentially lead to unhealthy eating behaviors, such as emotional eating.

7. Smoking

Researchers may not consider smoking a direct cause of belly fat. But they believe it is a risk factor.
A 2012 study published in the journal PloS one showed that although obesity was the same in smokers and non-smokers, smokers had more abdominal and visceral fat than non-smokers.

how to lose belly fat

By considering the following changes, you may be able to lose unwanted belly fat:

1. Improve your diet

A healthy, balanced diet can help a person lose weight. It is also likely to have a positive effect on general health.
Sugar, fatty foods and refined carbohydrates with low nutritional content should be avoided. Instead, they should eat lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.

2. Reduce your alcohol intake

A person trying to lose excess belly fat should watch their alcohol intake. Alcoholic beverages often contain extra sugar, which can contribute to weight gain.

3. Increase your physical activity

A sedentary lifestyle leads to many serious health problems, including weight gain. People trying to lose weight should include a good amount of exercise in their daily routine. Aerobic exercise and strength training can help them fight belly fat. Exercise is most effective when combining cardiovascular training and high intensity training with weights and resistance exercises.

4. Get more sun exposure

A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicates that sun exposure may lead to reduced weight gain and metabolic dysfunction. This review points out that few studies have looked at the effects of the sun on humans with respect to weight gain.

5. Reduce your stress

Stress can cause a person to gain weight. The release of the stress hormone cortisol influences a person’s appetite and can cause them to eat more.
Stress relief tactics include mindfulness and meditation, as well as gentle exercises, such as yoga.

6. Improve your sleep pattern

Sleep is vital for people’s overall health, and a lack of rest can have serious consequences for well-being. The primary purpose of sleep is to allow the body to rest, heal and recuperate. But it can also have an impact on a person’s weight. Getting good quality sleep is essential when trying to lose weight, including belly fat.

7. Quit smoking

Smoking is a risk factor for increased abdominal fat, as well as many other serious health problems. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of excess abdominal fat and improve overall health.

The likelihood of various health problems is higher if a person has excess belly fat. Some of the causes include poor diet, lack of exercise, and short or poor quality sleep. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle can help people lose excess belly fat and reduce the risk of problems associated with it.


Abdominal obesity and your health. (2017, January 20)

Behavior, environment, and genetic factors all have a role in causing people to be overweight and obese. (2018, January 19)

Fleury, N., Geldenhuys, S., & Gorman, S. (2016, October 11). Sun exposure and its effects on human health: Mechanisms through which sun exposure could reduce the risk of developing obesity and cardiometabolic dysfunction. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(10), 999

Frequently asked questions about saturated fats. (nd)

Kim, JH, Shim, KW, Yoon, YS, Lee, SY, Kim, SS, & Oh, SW (2012, September 24). Cigarette smoking increases abdominal and visceral obesity but not overall fatness: An observational study. PloS one, 7(9), e45815

St-Onge, M.-P. (2013, January 15). The role of sleep duration in the regulation of energy balance: Effects on energy intakes and expenditure. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 9(1), 73–80

Taking aim at belly fat. (2010, August)

Traversy, G., & Chaput, J.-P. (2015, March). Alcohol consumption and obesity: An update. Current Obesity Reports, 4(1), 122–130

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.