Abdominal fat
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Abdominal Fat: Causes, Risks, and How to Lose Weight

Abdominal fat comes in different forms. Although most of us might treat all types of fat the same, the truth is different. Fat is not created equal. However, it’s easier to lose weight when you understand what fat is and why it happens. Each body type is different, and therefore, we should treat each type of fat differently.

“While we don’t exactly know why abdominal fat is so harmful, we do know there are two types of fat; subcutaneous fat (under the skin) and visceral fat (fat inside the abdomen and around the organs),” said Dr. Robert Graham, MD, MPH, ABOIM, FACP, Chief Health Officer for Performance Kitchen and co-founder of FRESH Med.

Abdominal fat is harmful; however, visceral fat affects your health more badly. According to a study, visceral fat is associated with our inflammatory and stress response mechanisms. Other research shows that abdominal obesity increases the risk of insulin resistance, cardiovascular and cardiometabolic diseases. 

“It’s been linked to our inflammatory and stress response mechanisms. Through the activation of these systems, we have diseases like obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, high cholesterol especially high triglycerides, fatty liver and blood clots,” said Dr. Graham. 

Abdominal fat causes 

The first cause of abdominal fat is diet. We are what we eat. Often, lousy diet messes with our body weight. However, with a few changes, we can get to a healthier weight. DR. Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, encourages eating more whole fruits, veggies, fibre-loaded food, and less processed foods. 

“There’s lots of evidence that strength training can kick your exercise up a notch but the most important thing is consistency so find something you can stick with,” she adds.

One thing to keep in mind is that our metabolism slows down with age. However, consistency in a healthy diet and exercise is the key. Exercise every day and include some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) once you get more used to this lifestyle. It is essential to pay more attention to nutrition and exercise every day. A healthy lifestyle helps you get your weight in check. 

Another factor is genetics. According to Digbi Health founder and CEO Ranjan Singh, “obesity is affected partially by genetics with the gut microbiome as a contributing factor. Lifestyle choices, socio-economic issues, age, pregnancy, lack of sleep, stress, and previous attempts to lose weight also play a role.”

Obesity risks 

Obesity put your life in danger. There are many risks that come with excessive body fat. However, one of them is self-esteem. The disease affects more than your body; it creates social issues. However, each case is different and the cause complex.

“Obesity is a life-threatening disease with direct links to other physical and social issues. The cause is complex with multiple, unique factors in every case,” Singh adds.

The most common symptoms of obesity include being overweight, binge eating, potbelly, fatigue, and snoring. Obesity is calculated based on a person’s body mass index (BMI). The classification of obesity is split into three classes:

  • Class 1: BMI of 30 to 34.9
  • Class 2: BMI of 35 to 39.9
  • Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher

How to lose weight

Although a healthy lifestyle is the best medicine against obesity, doctors can also prescribe certain medications. However, what defines a healthy lifestyle? According to Dr. Graham: food, relaxation, exercise, sleep, and happiness. Include more plants in your daily diet, start cutting the unnecessary sugars, eat more fibre and less meat. However, self-care and a positive mindset are just as important as nutrition and exercise. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. Many people are ashamed of their looks; however, obesity is reversible and preventable most of the time.