A new study has revealed that those with excess belly fat were at a higher risk of health problems than even those who were classed as overweight, but had the weight distributed evenly over their body.
What research was undertaken?
In the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal a team of researchers lead by Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez of the Mayo Clinic looked at over 15,000 people over the course of 14 years.
They looked at information taken from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey before comparing cardiovascular and total mortality risk for people with various combinations of BMI scores and waist-to-hip ratios.
The research discovered that men with a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) but had excess belly fat were at a higher risk of mortality than those with a similar BMI but no belly fat, and those classed as overweight but without too much belly fat.
Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez had this to say about the results:
“Persons who are overweight or obese based on BMI may have larger amounts of subcutaneous fat in the hips and legs-fat linked to healthier metabolic profiles.”
This study serves as a reminder that not only is belly fat unattractive to look at, but excess belly fat will also increase your risk of developing life threatening conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
How to lose the belly fat?
Although we need a little belly fat or visceral fat to help cushion our organs, too much is simply not healthy as shown in the above study.
Unfortunately it is not possible to spot-reduce fat, so you will need to take steps to eliminate fat from all areas of your body.
To do this you will need to look at both your diet and your exercise regime.
First you should cut back on your intake of junk food and takeaways. Instead increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables as they can help fill you up without increasing your calorie intake too much.
You should also increase your intake of fibre as this will help fill you up, so can reduce your appetite and cravings, and protein too as this will help with cravings and will help build lean muscle.
Soft drinks should also be out, instead drink water as it contains zero calories, and can help curb your appetite.
As for exercise I would suggest HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training, as the exercise is intense your heart rate will be elevated so burning calories will be easy.
This form of exercise is perfect for those with only a few minutes spare each day, as the workouts are only designed for this length of time.
I would also suggest that you try a little weight training too. As this can help to increase muscle mass, which in turn will help you to burn more calories even when you are at rest.
The final tips for helping to eliminate belly fat would be to try and get a little extra sleep (at least 7 hours), as this will help ensure your hormones do not cause hunger cravings, and to try and take control of your stress too, as this can also affect your hormones negatively.