4. Belly Fat and Cancer
Carrying extra weight around your waistline can increase your risk of developing different types of cancer, including colorectal, pancreatic, breast (after menopause), and uterine cancers.
A 2013 study published in Cancer Backention Research shows that abdominal, also known as visceral, fat packed deep between the organs is directly linked to colon cancer.
A recent 2017 study published in Oncogene shows that a certain protein released from fat in the body can cause a non-cancerous cell to turn into a cancerous one.
The study also found that a lower layer of abdominal fat, when compared to fat just under the skin, is the more likely culprit, releasing even more of this protein and encouraging tumor growth.
5. Belly Fat and Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Having belly fat is one of the risk factors for this kind of sleep problem, particularly for men.
A 1997 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that visceral fat was significantly greater in patients with obstructive sleep apnea than those without, suggesting that visceral fat is an important risk factor for this disorder in both men and women who are obese.
A 2008 study published in Diabetes Care found that abdominal fat and sleep apnea form a vicious cycle, where each results in worsening of the other.
A 2013 study published in the European Respiratory Journal analyzed the relationship between visceral fat and obstructive sleep apnea in men and women who were overweight but not obese.
Researchers found that visceral fat was associated with the disorder in men but not women. In women, subcutaneous fat, located just beneath the skin, in the abdomen and throughout the body was associated with sleep apnea.
Tips to Lose Belly Fat
- Do moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week.
- Strength-training exercises are recommended at least twice a week.
- Work to tone your abdominal muscles by doing crunches or other targeted abdominal exercises.
- Eat a healthy diet by putting more emphasis on plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Stick to lean sources of protein, such as fish and low-fat dairy products.
- Limit the amount of high-fat dairy products, processed meats, and refined grains that you eat.
- Choose moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- Keep portion sizes in check to limit your calorie intake.
- Drink more water to keep your body hydrated.
- Avoid beverages with artificial sweeteners or anything with added sugar.