Belly fat is one of the most noticeable health disorders that invite many life challenging diseases. Many of us know that extra pounds around middle are not good for our heart. Doctors found that, it may be even worse for women’s heart health than men. By this article you will know about the causes behind it and how to lose belly fat for women.
You will also find here that, you fall in what category of waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and what type of health challenging issues you may have to face due to belly fat.
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)
Waist-to-Hip ratio (or Waist-Hip ratio) is one of the tools like Body Mass Index, which is used to measure whether accumulated fat on your belly is within the healthy limit. WHR is the ratio of your waist circumference to the hip circumference.
World Health Organization stated in December 2008 publication that, Waist-to-hip ratio, equal to or greater than 0.85 (for Women) and 0.90 (for Men) are substantially increased and prone to various diseases. This can be broken down as follows:
Low: Lesser than or equal to 0.80 (Women) & Lesser than or equal to 0.85 (Men)
Moderate: 0.81 – 0.84 (Women) & 0.86 – 0.89 (Men)
High: Greater than or equal to 0.85 (Women) & Greater than or equal to 0.90 (Men)
Doctor finds that, if your BMI index shows a good health but WHR is high then you are within the range of some health challenging disease.
A research carried out of 500,000 UK people of age between 40 to 69 years and tracked for 7 years. In the participants, 55% were women. This study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association that the women more belly fat had a 10% to 20% greater risk of heart attack than women who were just heavier over all measured by body mass index.
How to measure Waist-to-Hip ratio?
Be in straight standing position and measure circumference of your waist, just above the belly button after exhalation. It should be the smallest measurement of your waist.
Being in the same position, take the measurement of circumference at your heap. It should be the maximum measurement of your hip.
Divide waist circumference by your hip circumference. The result is your Waist-to-Hip ratio.
Health risk of belly fat
Following are the health risk caused by excess belly fat:
- Heart disease
- Blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Causes behind Belly fat accumulation
Belly fats are of two types:
Visceral: This fat surrounds a person’s organs.
Subcutaneous: This is fat that sits under the skin.
Health complications from visceral fat are more harmful than having subcutaneous fat.
Belly fat develops negative impact on the health and physique of a woman. You should want to get rid of.
What are the causes of Belly Fat?
It will be a good thing to know about the causes behind accumulation of fat on your belly. These will help you to control and treat the belly fat and come out from the problems caused by it. Here are the some causes that play a major role in development of belly fat:
1. Poor Sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial for your health. Poor sleep is linked with weight gain. A Study on 68,000 women for 16 years shows that, those who slept 5 hours or fewer per night were 32% more likely to gain 32 lbs (15 kg) than those who slept at least 7 hours.
Both poor quality and short duration of sleep can play a part in the development of abdominal fat.
2. Calorie imbalance
A serious cause of belly fat among women is taking more calorie than the daily consumption. The excess calorie converted in fat and accumulated in body.
3. Sugary food
Studies have shown a link between high sugar intake and excess belly fat. This may be largely due to the high fructose content of added sugars. Taking high-sugar foods like cakes, candies, and drinks, such as soda and fruit juice are among the most popular sugar-sweetened food and beverages that lead to belly fat. It slows down metabolism and reduce fat burning ability.
An observation on overweight and obese people who consumed 25% of calories as fructose-sweetened beverages on a weight-maintaining diet experienced a decrease in insulin sensitivity and an increase in belly fat.
4. Trans fat
Trans fats are found in many foods, including fast food and baked goods, like muffins or crackers, which are the most unhealthy fats. The American Heart Association recommends that people replace trans fats with healthful whole-grain foods, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats to avoid extra pounds.
5. Low protein diet
If you are taking low protein diet, then there are more chances of belly fat because a hormone known
as neuropeptide Y (NPY) leads to increased appetite and promotes belly fat gain.
High-protein diets make you feel full and satisfied, increase your metabolic rate and lead to a spontan
eous reduction in calorie intake.
A steroid hormone known as cortisol helps the body control and deal with stress. When a person is in a dangerous or high-pressure situation, their body releases cortisol, and this can impact on their metabolism.
It can lead to weight gain when produced in excess, especially in the abdominal region.
Alcohol can have both healthful and harmful effects. When you consume in moderate amounts, especially as red wine, it may lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes. But high alcohol intake may lead to inflammation, liver disease and other health problems.
Some studies have shown that alcohol suppresses fat burning and that excess calories from alcohol are partly stored as belly fat.
8. Lack of physical activity
From the past few decades, people have generally become less active. This has likely played a role in the rising rates of obesity, including abdominal obesity.
A study was conducted to compare women who watched more than three hours of TV per day to those who watched less than one hour per day.
The group that watched more TV had almost twice the risk of “severe abdominal obesity” compared to the group that watched less TV.
9. Wrong Gut Bacteria
So many types of bacteria live in your gut Some of these bacteria benefit health, while others can cause problems. These are also known as gut flora or microbiome. Gut health is important for maintaining a healthy immune system and avoiding disease.
An imbalance in gut bacteria increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Some research suggesting that having an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria may promote weight gain, including abdominal fat.
At puberty, the hormone estrogen signals the body to begin storing fat on the hips and thighs in preparation for a potential pregnancy. During menopause estrogen levels drop dramatically, causing fat to be stored in the abdomen, rather than on the hips and thighs.
Researchers identified three new genes around 4 years ago that are associated with increased waist-to-hip ratio and abdominal obesity, in which two were found only in women. Genes can be a major factor in belly fat and obesity.
How to lose belly fat?
Now you are well familiar with the causes of Belly Fat. So, it is simple for you to lose the belly fat. Following are the important way to lose your belly fat:
1. Get adequate quality sleep
Getting adequate sleep is crucial in losing the belly fat. You should get 7-8 hours sound sleep in a period of 24 hours. If you are suffering from any type of sleep disorder, consult with doctor and have enough high quality sleep.
A study report states that those women who were slept 5 hours or fewer were found to get more belly fat.
2. Balancing calorie
Your calorie intake should be less than the calorie you are burning. This is very important formula in losing your belly fat. This way you will burn the accumulated fat around your middle.
You will want to know how much total calorie you burn in a day. For this you will have to know your maintenance level. For losing your belly fat in healthy way reduce 500 calories from your maintenance level and start taking your equivalent food.
3. Avoid sugary food and beverages
Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease are linked with high intake of sugar. Studies show that it has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health.
Sugar contains fructose. When you eat a lot of added sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat.
Minimize the amount of sugar in your diet, and consider completely eliminating sugary drinks.
4. Replace Trans fat with healthy fat
Trans fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain. They are found in some margarine and often in packaged foods.
A study carried out on monkeys for 6 years. That revealed that those who ate a high-trans-fat diet gained 33% more abdominal fat than those eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat.
You should replace trans fats in your diet with healthy fats to lose your belly fats.
5. Increase protein and minimize carbs in your diet
High-protein diets make you feel full and satisfied, increase your metabolic rate and lead to a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake. Protein raises your metabolic rate and helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss
You should minimize carbohydrates in your diet and that calorie should be compensated by protein and healthy fats to lose your belly fats. Low carbs diet helps to lose belly fat even of type 2 diabetes and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Try to include fatty fish in your diet which are loaded with omega 3 fats. Omega-3 fats help you to reduce visceral fat and protect you from diseases. Fiber rich foods are always advised to include in your diet that help to reduce belly fats.
6. Reduce your stress
Stress has inverse effects on your health and helps to gain belly fat. Managing stress is always preferred for good health and to get rid of belly fats.
Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
7. Reduce Alcohol intake
If alcohol is being taken in fewer amounts, it will be beneficial. But, large quantity is very harmful for health.
Research suggests that too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.
A study shows that, those who drank alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they drank.
8. Be physically active
Studies also show that aerobic exercise one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat.
It is an effective way to improve your health and burn calories.
9. Eat probiotic food or supplements
Probiotics are bacteria found in some foods like kefir, cultured vegetable, kombucha, natto, yogurt, kvass, raw cheese, apple cider vinegar etc. and supplements. They have many health benefits, including improved gut health, stronger immune system, improved digestion, increased energy, better breath, healthier skin and weight loss.
Researchers have found that different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation and that having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat.
If you have any question, doubt or suggestion, please feel free to write your comments below. I will be happy to listen from you.