Belly fat has quite a few nicknames – Jelly Belly, Muffin Top, Spare Tire, Santa Belly, Beer Belly. We’ve heard the derogatory terms and know exactly what they mean. Some doctors even refer to belly fat as the apple shape, which doesn’t sound all that bad. But whether derogatory or not, they all mean the same thing – too much fat around the middle of the body that either sticks out noticeably or flops down over our belts.
But just what is belly fat and why should you be concerned at all?
Fat actually has two labels – visceral and subcutaneous. The word subcutaneous means beneath the skin. The subcutaneous fat is the fat you can see as what’s commonly called cellulite. Some people refer to cellulite as lumps or flab, but it’s all the same. The subcutaneous fat, while unsightly, is not nearly as dangerous to a person’s health as visceral fat.
Belly fat is scientifically known as visceral fat. It’s also been called intra-abdominal fat which means fat that you carry in your abdomen and it’s deep in the body surrounding your internal organs. Now you are beginning to see why it is such a dangerous fat to have.
Consider what this fat does to your liver. Your liver works to transform fat into substances you need but it also transforms fat into cholesterol in your body. Not the good kind either and we all know what bad cholesterol does to our arteries.
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So how can we burn more belly fat
Basically there are some key ways for you to lose or burn belly fat. But before that, you need to know that there is no such thing as spot-reducing or anything that targets only the belly area. There aren’t any moves that specifically target subcutaneous or visceral fat. As you lose weight, you lose all types of fat. Having said that, here are a few cool ways you can do to burn belly or stomach fat more efficiently.
1. Vigorous aerobic exercise: this type of exercise has been shown to trim subcutaneous and visceral fat, even fat stores in the liver linked to fatty liver disease. It can also reduce the build-up of visceral fat over the years.
In a recent Duke University study, 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activities, done four times per week, reduced subcutaneous and visceral abdominal fat. “Vigorous aerobic exercises” refer to exercises like jogging, brisk walking briskly, workouts of the same intensity on stationary bikes, elliptical or rowing machines, etc.
Note that inactivity can lead to greater gathering of visceral fat over time. So you may want to lead a lifestyle that includes some moderate physical activity. Raising your heart rate for 30 minutes at least three times per week can significantly slows visceral fat gains.
You can also do resistance training (muscle building exercises) but this type of exercises only tend to reduce subcutaneous (under the skin) fat.
2. High fiber diet: although no diet can target visceral fat alone but when you lose weight by dieting, you can lose belly fat.
Fiber, fiber! A diet rich in fiber may help. Research shows that people who eat 10 grams of soluble fiber per day, without any other diet changes, build up less visceral and other fat over time than others. That’s two small apples, a cup of green peas, and a half-cup of pinto beans, for example.
Even switching a higher-fiber bread can help maintain your weight over time but you can do much better than that if you are disciplined enough.
3. Enough sleep: Is too much or too little good for you?
In a study published in Sleep, people who slept five hours or less, or eight or more hours, per night gained more visceral fat than those who slept between six and seven hours per night? This interesting study doesn’t prove that sleep was the only difference, but it may have contributed to the visceral fat build-up. In other words, sleep enough but too much!
There are many other things you can do to get rid of belly and body fat more efficiently. Refer to my author resource box below for a free fat loss eBook that will give you a more complete answer to losing body and belly fat.