Belly fat is more than a cosmetic issue. Having more fat around the middle is linked to health problems. Belly fat — also known as visceral fat — is associated with a higher risk of health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to lose belly fat, if you know what triggers it. Implement these lifestyle changes to start slimming your waistline and getting healthier.
Get rid of trans fats
Trans fats are bad news for your health. They increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower your HDL (good) cholesterol. A diet high in trans fats increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Not only do trans fats contribute to serious health problems, but they are also linked to increased belly fat. Many processed and fried foods like donuts, cakes, pie crusts, and margarine spreads contain trans fats, though many companies have started eliminating them. The FDA says they are no longer “generally recognized as safe.”
Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid processed foods that contain trans fats: simply look for “partially hydrogenated” oils on the ingredients list. If you see those words, take a pass on that food. With all the healthy, trans-fat free options available today, it’s easier than ever to say goodbye to these processed fats. This is a step in the right direction for overall health, not just a slimmer waistline.
Get treatment for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a common condition that results in interrupted breathing during sleep. This may manifest as snoring, gasping, or simply a pause in breathing during sleep.
Many people may think that snoring is no big deal. But, sleep apnea is linked to higher mortality due to accidents from lack of sleep and even heart attacks. And, some evidence suggests that sleep apnea leads to increased belly fat.
A sleep study can determine whether you have sleep apnea or other sleep problems. If you snore or stop breathing during the night, or you wake up tired and groggy despite getting “enough” sleep, talk to your doctor.
Fit in more fiber
Fiber is necessary for proper digestion, as it helps soften and increase the frequency of bowel movements. This can help you feel less bloated and will prevent constipation, giving you an “instant” feeling of a flatter tummy.
But, soluble fiber may also have long-term power to reduce belly fat. One study found that higher soluble fiber intake was directly linked to less belly fat. The effect was even stronger when combined with exercise.
Plenty of healthy foods contain soluble fiber. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are good sources.
Some evidence suggests that belly fat increases with high stress and risk taking. This could be due to stress hormones that cause more fat to be stored in the abdominal area.
Discover healthy ways to cope with stress, such as meditation, talking with a friend, yoga, or relaxing music. Your best possible stress buster may be aerobic exercise: physical activity helps reduce belly fat and lowers stress levels — a one-two punch for unhealthy visceral fat!
Losing weight isn’t always easy, but we can create a plan that works for your body and your life. Contact Garcia Weight Loss for your no-cost consultation today!
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on August 17, 2018