We literally are what we eat. While there are many factors that can lead to an accumulation of abdominal fat (lack of sleep, stress, a high consumption of soft drinks, distraction when eating and more). However, without a doubt one of the main causes of excess abdominal fat is the consumption of processed foods. Recent studies have shown that the direct cause of belly fat is refined carbohydrates, particularly those that are marketed and sold for convenience, such as packaged potato chips, bread, and baked goods.
The truth is that the nutrients we eat become part of us at the cellular level, and the wrong foods can cause gas, bloating, weight gain, increase visceral fat and can be related to other quite negative health complications. Therefore, betting on a high consumption of ultra-processed is the direct key to increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a long list of chronic diseases.
What is most striking is that these convenience foods, which are the direct cause of excess abdominal fat on many occasions, are promoted as healthy alternatives and that is the most dangerous of all. Now, the fundamental reason why processed foods hinder the loss of abdominal fat is that they are composed mainly of refined carbohydrates and sugar. Today it is no secret to say that they are two of the most latent enemies of good health, increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, hypertension, depression and cognitive decline. Just to mention a few.
It is important to emphasize the differences that exist between the “refined” and “whole” carbohydrates.
Refined carbohydrates are not the same carbohydrates that you will find in a piece of fruit, which is why they are usually classified as simple and complex. For example, the carbohydrates found in fruits are often known as “whole grains” and the reason is simple: they lack processing, provide essential nutrients and fiber. While lRefined carbohydrates are distinguished by their high processing, in which their natural fiber has been completely eliminated or modified. In other words, refined carbohydrates tend to have little to no nutritional value and without fiber, protein, or healthy fats, they amount to empty calories that can often be contribute to the creation and accumulation of abdominal fat.
Recently a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, found that the intake of refined carbohydrates is closely related to a greater waist circumference and accumulation of abdominal fat. On the other hand, the study found that participants who consumed an average of three servings of whole grains a day and grains less refined versions in general had smaller waists, lower fasting glucose levels, lower blood pressure and higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
For more details: there is absolutely nothing wrong with having some belly fat. In fact, having the right essential fatty acids is key to isolate and protect vital organs, as well as to store energy in the body through adipose tissue. However, far beyond an aesthetic issue, Having excessive visceral fat leads to health problems. For those who are not very clear, visceral fat is the fat that is found under the abdominal muscle and accumulates around the internal organs, such as the intestines, stomach and liver. Due to the location of this fat, it has the potential to put physical pressure on the surrounding organs and potentially cause chronic health problems.
Also, it is important to mention that excess visceral fat releases hormones directly related to inflammation, which is well known to be the origin of various chronic diseases and is a condition that affects the health of internal organs and blood vessels. The reason for the increase in abdominal fat: refined carbohydrates are rapidly processed by the body and easily stored as fat. They provide a quick source of energy, but this energy comes in the form of a glucose spike and an inevitable crash.
This not only deteriorates health, makes us hungry shortly after eating regardless of the calories consumed. Activate cravings for sugary foods and more carbohydrates, creating an endless cycle. In second place, can make the body more resistant to insulin, which leads to higher glucose levels and weight gain as the body begins to store excess glucose as fat. This excess abdominal fat is very dangerous for health, mainly it creates a significant stress on the heart and other vital organs. And that’s where the risk of heart disease and stroke, among other chronic conditions, rises.
Therefore, the first and most important recommendation to reduce excess abdominal fat is to make adjustments in diet and avoid ultra-processed and sweetened beverages at all costs. Bet on following a plant-based diet, with an abundant consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, legumes. Drink lots of water, get a good night’s sleep, manage stress, and exercise.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.