Belly Fat in Men: Why Weight Loss Matters
Men differ from women because they tend to gain weight in one main area—the belly. This produces unhealthy and ugly love handles that more importantly increase the risk of chronic disease and premature death.
The Dangers Of Belly Fat
The Mayo Clinic advises that weight loss is important in men because it has been shown that truncal obesity as is often seen in men is more difficult to get rid of and causes an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, various cancers, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome and even premature death.
All Body Fat Is Not Equal
The fat that lies just beneath the surface of your skin is known as subcutaneous fat. Conversely, belly fat is known as visceral fat, named so because it builds up in the spaces between and around the viscera or the internal organs inside the intestines and your gut.
Dr. Dagogo-Jack, president of the American Diabetes Association, explains that belly fat makes toxins that affect the way the body works, including chemicals known as cytokines that increase risks for heart disease and promotes insulin resistance that poses a threat for the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers at the American Cancer Society also warn that cytokines cause inflammation that can lead to certain kinds of cancers, such as those of the colon, pancreas, and the esophagus.
Waist Size Determines Your Risk
Belly fat risks can be ascertain by measuring your waistline, the higher the size the greater the risk.
• For men, a measurement of 40” or more is the danger zone
The Higher Your Waist Size The Higher Your Risk For Premature Death
Research conducted on 360,000 Europeans (Pischon, MD, et al) linked belly fat to early death. This is one of the largest and longest healthy studies ever conducted, and it found that those who had the most belly fat had a double risk for premature death versus those with the least amount of visceral fat (belly fat) as reported in the Nov. 12 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
The study also found that risk of death increased with waist circumference even in those who were not overweight or obese.
The study’s author, Dr. Pischon noted that belly fat is one of the few individual characteristics, alongside smoking and drinking that can increase the risk for premature death.
Dealing With Belly Fat
If you have belly fat, you’ll find that it is hard to get rid of. It takes a great deal of motivation to change one’s patterns in life to get rid of visceral fat.
Here are some tips to deal with your belly fat and reduce your risk for disease and premature death:
• Build Core Strength: It is less effective to take up jogging than it is to lift weights so that the core muscle strength is increases. Muscle burns more calories than fat so you lose weight faster. However, really you should do both.
• Do Intense Exercises: Jogging or traditional cardio is not your best choice in weight loss. Instead, try 10 to 15 minute High Intensity Interval Training workouts that really get the heart going and burns more fat and calories long after the workout is over.
• Get Enough Sleep: You tend to eat junk food if you stay up half the night. By getting enough sleep, you make more testosterone and growth hormone, which can help you gain muscle mass and burn calories at a greater rate.
• Don’t Confuse Thirst With Hunger: Eat more high-water foods that can tame both thirst and hunger, these foods, such as fruits and vegetables can fill you up so that you don’t end up eating too many high calorie foods.
• Eat More Nuts: Nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, and other tree nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease and can stick with you longer so you are less hungry throughout the day. Nuts make for a great afternoon snack. Stick with just a small handful at a time.
• Ditch the Beer: Beer can create a beer belly and is high in calories. Drinking any kind of alcohol interferes with protein repair so your muscles won’t be strong, even when exercising them. Alcohol also decreases the amount of water-soluble vitamins in your system so the body does not repair itself as well.
• Don’t Eat Bread, Rice Or Pasta: Bread of any kind is a complex carbohydrate that should be used for when you are already thin. In the meantime, stick with fish, lean cuts of meat, vegetables, and fruits that will strengthen your muscles and reduce your weight as quickly as possible.
• Have A “Cheating” Day Once Per Week: You need to eat well and healthy every day, but having an occasional cheat day is only human so make sure to do this once per week. Make the cheat day as moderate as you can and don’t go all out by eating an outrageous 5000 calories. This means that you will cheat only about 14 percent of the time.
• Create A Lifestyle Change: Dieting isn’t just a temporary thing that you do in order to look good for a family event. Make sure that when you start to eat healthy and work out that this becomes a lifelong habit that keeps your weight within the normal range.
Men can only lose weight if they commit to eating better and exercising more. Going back to bad habits only puts the long handles back on, brinks back a high risk of heart disease, and other diseases commonly associated with obesity.