Belly fat facts

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The quest to reduce belly fat is an attainable goal
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A belly with excess fat calls for facts that aid reduction

Tonight, upon retiring, roll over in bed. 

Is your belly is the last thing to flop from one side to the other? If so, maybe it’s time to think about some important belly fat facts. Bellies today come in sizes ranging from healthy to downright dangerous. The healthy bellies are pampered with healthy foods—vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals, nuts, legumes, proteins and the valuable oils found in avocado recipes—or olive-oil based dishes.

And then there are the rest of those tummies out there. The a bit too large ones. The really, dangerously large ones. Is it a choice? Not really. Most people fighting the battle of the bulge will agree that looking good and feeling good are worthy goals. But do they take it seriously enough? Again, probably not really.

Those folks who tote around downright dangerous bellies, are courting a seductive killer. That fat hugs too tightly around the abdominal organs. It leads to increased chances for heart disease. It collects around the liver and kidneys and stomach like a rotund, obnoxious guest that visits for a weekend, and then brings friends who stay for a year—or a lifetime.

The exercise shortage

Belly fat, like most excess body fat, results when the amount of calories ingested is not balanced by the amount of calories burned through activity. This problem is both a “First World” issue and a modern issue.

Back in the old days, folks concerned with belly fat were hard to find.

They worked hard. Really hard. They ate home-grown, natural foods that fueled their bodies to cope with physical labor such as hunting and farming. In fact, only a few generations back, had someone inquired about losing weight, the answer might be other questions such as “Why lose weight? Only poor people are skinny! Want some more pie?"

Not so today. Now busy people in the Western world find it necessary to reinforce their mostly lightweight workaday activities with physical fitness regimes related to sports, hobbies or travel and recreation. But all too often, it’s far too little, or way too late.

Modern food choices takes their toll

The statistics on obesity today illuminate the hazards of a lifestyle that is bad for our bodies. Americans consume too many calories and highly refined sugars that break down through digestion into simple carbohydrates, empty of valuable components. Of course, those substances provide calories, but in most cases they are calories without significant levels of few nutrients, vitamins or minerals.

Empty calories do little to help the body. Yet the majority of calories people in the Western world consume come from manufactured snacks, beverages and processed foods. These "foods" are a far cry from the farm-based products of yesteryear. The result of all those empty calories? Look down…it’s that muffin top spilling over your waistband. It’s that “beer belly”, even among those who don’t drink beer.

Today, when the feast consists of candy, chips, dip, fast food and soda pop, the ingested sugars trigger the production of insulin—a hormone produced by the pancreas to convert excess carbohydrates into stores of fat. Those stores were meant to help humans survive in times of famine. Unfortunately, those pounds of excess fat find the belly area a wonderfully handy storage compartment. And spells of famine are rare.

The belly fat problem, the belly fat solution

Bite by bite, ounce by ounce, is the way body fat gets its foot into the door—via the portal we call the human mouth.

Refined sugars, corn-based sweeteners and processed flour are properly blamed for much of it.

But taking a toll are many other factors: rate of metabolism, lifestyle, work schedules, long commutes, ever increasing portion sizes, rising per serving calorie content, and even a genetic predisposition to being overweight. It can all feel so hopeless, with so many factors working against having a lean and fit body.

Fortunately, there are some very hopeful remedies among more discouraging belly fat facts.

  • Increase daily exercise or physical activity
  • Decrease intake of white-flour bread and sweets
  • Add more vegetables and fruits in meals and as snacks
  • Avoid products made with high-fructose corn syrup
  • Skip artificial sweeteners, which may actually boost appetite and fat retention
  • Limit (really, really limit!) candy, cookies, sticky buns, cupcakes and soda drinks
  • Stop eating about two hours before bedtime (the hours when people are mostly likely to binge on fatty, salty or sweet foods)

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