By Dave Warner
Remember the old jokes, when folks would laugh heartily when accusing a friend of not being able to see their shoes when they’re standing?
It’s a big-belly gag. Alas, it’s not so funny.
These days, belly fat is being blamed for increasing your risk of a wide range of diseases, from Alzheimer’s Disease, to diabetes, to some types of cancer, heart disease, sleep apnea and gallbladder problems.
How much is too much? Let’s start with the fact that some 66 percent of American adults are considered to be either overweight or obese.
You can determine where you fall by consulting a health care professional, or a Body Mass Index scale.
Beyond that, it matters where your fat is.
Typically, men tend to pack on weight around their mid-sections, and women gain weight around their hips. But post-menopausal women can begin having belly fat blues too.
Medical experts provide a simple guide for both genders, to help determine whether you have too much belly fat: men who have a waist size of more than 40 inches may have an issue, and women with waists more than 35 inches may be at higher risk for the diseases associated with belly fat. You should find your number with a tape measure just above your hip bone.
A component of belly fat is called visceral fat, and it goes deep into your body. It can release fatty acids into your liver, and also releases hormones and other substances that are bad for your heart and pancreas.
It can also be bad for your brain. Research has shown that you’re more at risk for Alzheimer’s, for instance, if you carry extra belly fat during your mid-life years.
While all this can be complex and technical, the bottom line is clear: losing that belly fat is an important step in maintaining health.
Here’s how to lose that gut
The basic methods for losing belly fat sound simple. But of course, it’s easier said than done.
If you’re over the guidelines, or really can’t see your shoes when you stand up, you basically need to eat healthy food, and get more exercise.
It’s possible; however, your problem could be genetic, or cultural in the sense that more fat may be involved in some types of cooking.
Here are some tips on how to lose those pounds:
- Walk more, watch television less.
- Watch your meal portions.
- Don’t gorge yourself at parties. Try grabbing a healthy snack before you leave so you won’t be hungry.
- Try cooking with less fat.
Know too that recent research is suggesting that there may be a link between depression and eating your way to a big tummy. The reasons, however, are unclear.
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Did you know that having extra weight around your midsection puts you at greater risk for dementia? Learn why by watching the video below.
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