Belly fat is one of the most common types of fat among men. Sergey Fuss/TNS
Mitchelle D’Souza, Sub-editor/Reporter
It is known by many names: love handles, gut, spare tyre etc.
Whatever you may refer to is as, it all boils down to the same thing: belly fat, which is one of the most common types of fat men possess.
As men may have noticed before, as they gain weight, their thighs, legs, and arms usually remain unchanged. However, it is their stomach which bears the most onslaught of fat, followed by the chest and neck areas.
Women, on the other hand, tend to store their fat a little lower, around the butt and thighs.
Fat, no matter where it’s stored, is a pretty clear indicator that you’re out of shape, and it can negatively affect your self-esteem.
But that’s just the beginning.
While fat in other areas of your body is pretty innocuous enough (although that shouldn’t be seen as an excuse to pile on the kilos), it is belly fat which should sound an alarm.
As per research, you are at risk of developing a number of life-threatening health conditions if you have a thick layer of fat lining your stomach.
Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and colorectal cancer have been closely interlinked to belly fat.
The different types of belly fat
There are two broad categories of belly fat.
First, there’s subcutaneous — which literally means “under the skin”— belly fat, which is found just under the skin and visible to the naked eye.
Subcutaneous fat around your belly is no different than subcutaneous fat anywhere else on your body, whether it’s your butt, your arms, your legs, or your toes.
It’s the fat that you can pinch between your fingers and has an unsightly appearance, a clear indication that you need to stave off the calories.
However, it isn’t the dangerous type.
The second kind of belly fat is visceral, which means “relating to the internal organs.”
This type of fat is located deep inside your body and surrounds many of your internal organs, including your heart, intestines, liver, and lungs.
Unfortunately, you can’t see visceral fat with your naked eye.
But it’s a huge health threat because it pumps substances called cytokines into your bloodstream, and can cause inflammation and lead directly to cardiovascular health risks, as well as high cholesterol, inflammation throughout the body, liver problems, and a lot more.
Exercise to the rescue
Getting rid of visceral belly fat isn’t easy, but not all hope is lost.
One of the best ways to combat visceral fat it is to get more exercise.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day can help reduce the fat gradually.
Cardiovascular exercise (the kind that gets your heart rate up) is by far the most effective when it comes to getting rid of this kind of fat.
Exercises such as brisk walks, running, biking, swimming, rowing, and so on should be made part of your daily regime to combat belly fat.
A change in diet is key when it comes to addressing belly fat.
And it’s not crash diets and fads we are talking about; it’s sticking to a consistent, life-long diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, high fibre food, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
Red meat, excessive sugar and salt should be avoided as much as possible.
As per studies, the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The percentage of people diagnosed with cardiovascular conditions in the Mediterranean regions is less compared to the rest of the world.
Apart from switching to a Mediterranean diet, limit your fat intake, cutting out as much trans fats as you can.
Reading food labels also becomes imperative if you aim to shed visceral fat.
Portion sizes should be moderate too. This can be achieved by consuming food in quarter plates.
Also, one must not eat a meal to the point of over-stuffing.
Eat slowly, stop when you’re not hungry anymore, and you’ll have a much better grasp over how many calories you’re taking in each day.
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