Belly fat is enemy No. 1. It can make you look and feel disproportionate; worse, deep visceral fat can settle around your organs which, as the Mayo Clinic notes on mayoclinic.org, can lead to:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Colorectal cancer
- Sleep apnea
- Premature death from any cause
- High blood pressure
So how do you beat belly fat? Genetics and aging may make it extra tough. But there are some ways to watch your waist.
Limit booze and sugary beverages. They contain calories that lead to weight gain. (Ignore the message on the T-shirt in the image above!)
Cut processed foods. White flour, white sugar…they can lead to inflammation in the body, which is linked to belly fat. Instead, go for vegetables, fruits and whole grains rich in fiber and antioxidants, which can help prevent fat.
Watch which fats you eat. The saturated fat from meat and dairy contributes to visceral fat. Choose monounsaturated (olive oil, avocado) and polyunsaturated (salmon, walnuts) fats, but manage portion sizes; they’re calorically dense.
Sleep more, stress less. Lack of sleep and high stress can cause your body to produce cortisol, which then causes your body to cling to fat cells.
Keep it clean. A new study suggests that household dust contains hormone-altering chemicals that lead to the accumulation of fat. Really!
Work out harder. But you knew this was coming, didn’t you? You can’t tackle belly fat specifically; you need to burn fat overall with cardio and build muscle that’ll burn calories when you’re at rest.