Tummy, pot, love handles, belly; just some of the names used to describe the stubborn mid-section fat that most people struggle with. This fat is medically referred to as ‘visceral fat’ and has been known to increase the risk factors for ailments such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Belly fat seems to creep in with age. It is possible to be of otherwise healthy weight and still have excess belly fat. Why is this the case even when making an effort to eat right? Here are some culprits in your diet that you should look out for:
1. Soft Drinks
You may avoid eating sugar, but are you drinking it instead? Soft drinks pack an insane amount of sugar in every milliliter. Even those labeled as ‘zero sugar’ or ‘diet’ may not be as safe. High sugar intake is synonymous with belly fat owing to the high levels of fructose added.
2. Fruit Juice
You may have ditched the soft drinks for fruit juice, but how much of it are you consuming? Fruit juice contains plenty of sugar even when not sweetened. In addition, you can easily consume so much of it subconsciously, loading your calories in the process. You’re better off eating the fruits themselves, and even then go for those with less sugar.
The term ‘beer belly’ is a vivid indicator of the long-term effect of alcohol on the mid-section. Research indicates that calories from alcohol mostly end up being stored as fat in the belly. The quantity and frequency of alcohol intake matters here. There are those ‘light’ drinkers who take a glass or so on a daily basis. Others have ‘drinking days’ where they can have up to 5 or more drinks at a time. This second category is more likely to develop excess belly fat compared to the light drinkers. So if you assume you’re safe since you binge only once in a while, you might have to rethink your strategy.
There’s more to cutting down on fat than steamed food and skimmed milk. There is a separate category of fat known as trans fats which is mostly found in crackers and baked products. Have you noticed that these products can stay on the shelf for months before expiry? This is attributed to these ‘stable’ fats that are formulated by adding hydrogen, unfortunately becoming very unhealthy. With prolonged intake of these foods, the fat with gradually settle in your midsection.
5. Inadequate Proteins and Fiber
High protein foods keep you feeling full, reduces chances of binge eating and random snacking. A fiber rich diet has a similar effect. In the absence of these two, especially when replaced by carbohydrates, raises the chances of gaining belly fat in the long run. On the surface, belly fat is unsightly; a nuisance. It alters your body shape making it hard to find something appropriate to wear. Beyond the surface, the excess fat interferes with the functioning of the body organs. Adjust your diet and curb that belly fat before it’s too late.