There is more to be concerned about with belly fat than just how it looks on you. While it is true that your body needs some fat, it is also true that having too much of the fat we can see often means there is more of the fat we can’t see. That is not good news for your health. The fat we can see, subcutaneous fat, accumulates just under the skin usually in the buttocks, hips, thighs, and abdominal areas. There is another kind of fat, visceral fat, that is around your vital organs such as liver, heart, lungs and digestive tract. This fat cushions the organs, but too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer and other health conditions.
Since the amount of belly fat can be an indication of how much visceral fat you have, take a look at your body shape. Having what is called a “pear” shaped body is better than having what is called an “apple” shape. The apple shape means that you have a bigger waistline with a round belly and the fat has settled there. If you have a pear shape then the fat has settled more in your thigh and buttocks areas. Having more fat in the abdomen area can be an indication of more visceral fat. Genetics can play a role in the propensity to store visceral fat, but physical activity also plays a role. So for those of us that are apple shapes it means it’s time to get serious about getting a physical exercise plan going and making changes in the types of foods we eat.
How to Control Belly Fat
Belly fat breaks down into fatty acids, which goes into the liver and muscles. When this happens, more ‘bad’ cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides result. This causes insulin to be less effective in controlling blood sugar, and results in insulin resistance. Blood sugar then can be out of balance and fat and clots appear in the bloodstream. Watching your intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates is therefore important in your diet. Eliminating processed foods from the diet and moving to eating whole foods, mostly plant based, rich in enzymes and antioxidants, and not overeating can go a long way to controlling belly fat. The main ways to get a grip on your belly fat are through diet, exercise, enough quality sleep and managing stress.
Belly fat is also caused by undigested food sitting there because your body doesn’t have enough enzymes to digest it. This can be due to the type of calories we are ingesting, like carbs and fat, or to the way we eat meals. If we allow ourselves to get hungry, our bodies go into starvation mode and hoard the calories. This causes a feeling of being deprived and craving comfort foods which are not usually the healthiest foods. Eating more, smaller meals throughout the day allows us to avoid this state and avoid the cravings for unhealthy foods.
Nutritional Support to Control Belly Fat
- Fiber in the diet helps keep the visceral fat from building up. Proteins and fiber are less likely to be converted to fat storage as the body is able to eliminate any of those it can’t digest.
- Avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates or calories that come from fat. Your body can only easily digest a certain amount of carbohydrates before it then converts those carbs to fat to store away.
- Eat more protein and fewer carbs. The kind of protein that you eat can make a difference too. Studies have shown that eating dairy protein can result in loss of belly fat while at the same time gaining muscle. Another source of high quality protein that is just as good or even better than dairy protein is AFA blue green algae. This form of microalgae has 75% usable high quality protein compared to just 18% in red meat!
- Enzymes are required to properly digest food, and when we don’t have enough enzymes, the food we eat literally rots in our guts, adding to weight gain and the appearance of a beer belly.
Enzymes to Control Belly Fat
Cooked foods don’t have enzymes because high temperatures literally kill the enzymes naturally found in foods. Canned foods also lack enzymes and often over-stimulate the endocrine system. One study found that laboratory rats fed a diet of processed and enzyme-less protein, fats, and carbohydrates increased their percentage of body fat (V. Korenchevsky, “Pathology and Bacteriology”).
Proper diet that has plenty of enzymes plus the raw materials the body needs to stay healthy (vitamins, minerals, trace-minerals, and antioxidants) does more to help weight loss than any diet plan. To practice enzyme therapy for weight loss, you need to start with a high-quality enzyme source that preferably contains mycopepsin, an enzyme that works well even in the very acidic environment of the stomach.
Water to Control Belly Fat
Another way to fight belly fat is to build lean muscle because muscle burns more calories than fat does and increases your metabolism which in turn burns fat away. One way to increase your metabolism to burn fat is by drinking enough water. Increasing metabolism to burn fat is the job of your liver. The liver however also takes over some of the jobs your kidneys should be doing and can’t if the kidneys don’t have enough water. That in turns slows the liver down from converting stored fat into energy. The average person needs to drink about 2 quarts of water a day. This of course should not be all at one time, but rather spread out throughout the day so as to not overtax the kidneys.
Belly Fat: The Bottom Line
The amount of belly fat you have can be an indication of the amount of visceral fat you have which can lead to numerous serious health conditions. Losing weight and ridding yourself of the belly fat through diet, sleep, stress management and exercise can lead to not only a better looking and feeling you, but also a healthier you.