Why has belly fat become such a grave problem? The answer lies in our lifestyle, diet and the time spent on exercising. These three factors are the biggest contributors to the menace of belly fat.
However, there are a few internal factors that cause belly fat as well, including some diseases. These diseases have nothing to do with your diet and workout regime. Here we look at some of them:
- Addison's disease: It is a condition in which the adrenal gland does not produce enough hormones. These include glucocorticoids like cortisol and aldosterone. Glucocorticoids are responsible for converting fat in your liver into energy. However, when there is a deficiency of these hormones in the body, there is accumulation of fat in the abdominal area.
- Abdominal hernia: This condition develops when an organ or a fat tissue pushes against a weak spot in the abdominal wall. The abdominal wall is made up of strong connective tissues and tendons, which spread from your ribs to your groin. Depending on the location of the weak point in your abdomen, the hernia can develop in the groin, belly button, upper thigh or stomach.
- Cushing's syndrome: It is also known as hypercortisolism and occurs when a person is exposed to extremely high cortisol levels for a prolonged period. Usually, this disorder is treatable. But if it is chronic, the symptoms of this condition may stay life-long. One of the symptoms of this condition is the accumulation of belly fat.
- Chronic stress: It has a very important role to play when in the accumulation of belly fat. Stress leads to a chain of reactions in your body involving hormonal fluctuations. It triggers your body to produce more cortisol, the hormone which signals your body to store fat around your belly.
- Ascites: This refers to the storage of fluids in the belly region. It is usually seen in patients, who are at a terminal stage of cancer and those with liver cirrhosis, heart disease and kidney failure. The early signs include abdominal girth accompanied by weight gain.
Apart from diseases, some foods that accelerate the growth of belly fat in your body include:
- Sugar Alcohols: These are generally used as artificial sweeteners in foods and drinks. These partially digested sugar alcohols can lead to more weight gain, particularly around the belly area. Some examples include sorbitol and mannitol.
- Processed sandwich meats: Avoid cold cuts and try making your own sandwiches from meats you that you have roasted yourself.
- Fast Foods: These are not exactly known for their high-quality ingredients and nutritionally sound choices. And when you consider the oil used to fry it, you’re adding in substantial amounts of trans-fats to your body.
- White Rice: When processed from brown to white, much of the nutritional content and fibre in rice is removed. What’s left is a high-glycemic grain that can lead to serious weight gain, especially around the belly area.
- Pasta: Made from refined, bleached flour, pasta is just another food that leads to excess belly fat. The problem is that pasta often spikes your blood sugar, and when that happens, you often end up with fat that goes straight to your midsection.
Also read: Is your child a junk food addict who loves to eat burgers and pizzas? Here are ways to detox your child off junk food.
A sedentary lifestyle with almost no exercise can also result in fat accumulation in and around the belly area. It is important to combine a healthy diet with an exercise programme that includes both aerobic workouts and strength training. Managing your stress may also help fight belly fat.
Getting good quality sleep every night will help in hormonal balance and improve your body’s metabolism to support fat burn. A combination of these will put you on the right track for reducing belly fat.
The author is an expert in integrative and lifestyle medicine, holistic nutrition, exercise physiologist and Founder, Pure Nutrition.
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