Obesity: eating habits that increase abdominal fat

Obesity has become a worldwide epidemicl that is related to serious consequences, among which the appearance of a long list of chronic diseases stands out. One of the most worrying factors is excess abdominal fat, which beyond being an “aesthetic” problem, is extremely harmful to health. It is one of the most prominent risk factors for metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The medical term for this type of unhealthy fat that tends to accumulate in the abdomen is “Visceral fat.” This refers to the fat that surrounds the liver and other organs in the abdomen. A very interesting fact in this regard is that it is not a condition that is exclusive to obesity, even people of normal weight with excess abdominal fat have a greater risk of health problems.

While losing weight is an essential measure, making a change in lifestyle and certain eating habits is simply essential. Based on this, we took on the task of selecting the worst daily habits that increase abdominal fat by seconds and the risk of contracting all kinds of degenerative diseases.

1. Sugary foods and drinks

At this point it is no secret to talk about the devastating consequences of a high consumption of sugary foods, the reality is undeniable: many people eat more sugar every day than they think. The most worrying thing is that sugar is in a long list of everyday foods that are not necessarily the most obvious as desserts, cakes and sweets. Sugar is in excess in many everyday foods that we consider healthy, such as yogurt, cereals, energy bars and a wide range of sauces. Also, soft drinks, flavored coffee drinks, and sweet tea are among the most popular sugar-sweetened beverages. There are several studies in which it has been shown a link between high sugar intake and excess belly fat. This may be due in large part to the high fructose content of the added sugars. Although there are many references, among the most relevant is a 10-week controlled study, conducted in overweight and obese people who consumed 25% of daily calories in fructose-sweetened beverages. The result was that they experienced a decrease in insulin sensitivity and an increase in abdominal fat. A second study reported a reduction in fat burning and metabolic rate among people who followed a similar high-fructose diet.

Refreshments. / Photo: Shutterstock

2. Alcohol

It is important to clarify that not everything is black and white, alcohol in moderate amounts can have positive effects; Such is the particular case of red wine, which is associated with benefits in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, under no circumstances will consuming it in excess be recommended, high consumption can lead to inflammation, liver disease, obesity, depression and other health problems. Specifically, there are some studies in which alcohol has been shown to suppress fat burning and that excess calories from alcohol are partly stored as abdominal fat, hence the popular term “beer belly.” One study found that men who consumed more than three drinks per day had a 80% more likely to have excess belly fat than men who drank less alcohol. The amount of alcohol consumed in a 24-hour period also appears to play a role. In another study, daily drinkers who had less than one drink a day tended to have the least amount of belly fat, while those who drank less frequently but had four or more drinks on “drinking days” they were more likely to have excess belly fat.

Alcohol consumption
Alcohol consumption./Photo: Unsplash

3. Excessive consumption of trans fats

Currently we all know that not all fats are the same, in fact healthy fat sources are a great ally for health and weight loss. Nevertheless, trans fats are simply the least healthy on the planet, are created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats to make them more stable. They are one of the most popular elements in a long list of ultra-processed foods and are typically added by the food industry with the goal of extending the shelf life of foods, as well as enhancing their texture and flavor. They are typical of products such as industrial pastries, cookies, baking mixes and ready meals. It has been shown that ltrans fats cause inflammation and this can lead to insulin resistance, heart disease and various other diseases. Another of its devastating effects suggests that diets containing trans fats can cause excess belly fat.

Cupcakes./Photo: Pixabay

4. Follow a low protein diet

Obtaining an adequate amount of protein in the diet is one of the most important factors for prevent weight gain. Protein is not only an indispensable macro nutrient that is associated with a long list of benefits for physical and mental health, following a diet rich in protein provides satiety, increases metabolic rate and leads to a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. Conversely, low protein intake can lead to long-term abdominal fat gain. Various studies with scientific support prove it: people who consume the most protein are the least likely to have excess belly fat. Additionally, animal studies have found that a hormone known as neuropeptide Y (NPY) increases appetite and promotes abdominal fat gain. The levels of this hormone increase when protein intake is low.

Proteins / Photo: Shutterstock

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