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6 reasons why we gain belly fat and how to fix it

Too much belly fat can be unhealthy. Picture: Pexels / Karolina Grabowska

Too much belly fat can be unhealthy. Picture: Pexels / Karolina Grabowska

Published Apr 10, 2021


Everyone has some belly fat, even people who have flat abs.

That's normal. But too much belly fat can affect your health in a way that other fat doesn't.

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There are many reasons why someone will put on belly fat during their lifetime.

Angela Dimos, a weight-loss, hypertrophy and nutritional coach shared six reasons why we gain belly fat over our lifetime on Quora.

Dimos says you need to take the genetic aspect of the fat gain equation into this. It's not only a matter of diet, lifestyle and hormones that play a part. Here's what she says you should consider.

Sugar consumption

Many people believe they are eating healthy food, but most of us consume a lot more sugar in our diets than we even realise. I thought that I was healthy, too - until I went on a body-builder diet to get ready for my first competition.

Boy, was I completely wrong! I was eating so-called "gluten-free" packet rice crisps and many other horrible things I don't even go near now. These things add up to belly fat - primarily due to the high fructose content of added sugars. Many of those packet convenient goods in supermarkets (and yes, that means protein bars too!) contain high fructose - especially corn syrup. Your metabolic rate drops when you consume a high fructose diet.

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There is even worse news for those who drink sweetened beverages. It's effortless to consume these in more significant amounts - making them even more dangerous. Liquid calories don't fill you up in the same way that solid food does. This is something to become very mindful of.

Trans fatty foods

The worst fat on planet earth! It's apparent in muffins, cakes, crackers and any other kind of packet goods. Trans fat causes a lot of inflammation, leading to insulin resistance and many other diseases.

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These foods can cause excess belly fat. I would recommend you go for the good fats instead - like eggs, avocado, coconut oil, nuts and seeds. These fats fight belly fat, keep you full for more extended periods and nourish your body with vitamins & minerals.


Are you inclined to drink a few too many glasses of alcohol? We're not talking about red wine here -that's good for you (in moderate amounts, of course).

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Higher levels of alcohol can lead to inflammation, liver disease, and probably guess, lots of health problems. Aim to drink one or less than one drink per day. Over-consumption is four or more per day, leading to excess belly fat, especially if it contains lots of sugar.

Sitting on your backside for too long

Most people have generally become less and less active. This has most definitely played a role in the growing obesity rates - not to mention abdominal fat on the increase.

It's essential to exercise - even walking, every single day. It will increase your chances of losing body fat and even gaining your health back. For those chained to the office chair - make sure you do get up often and do some form of exercise to keep your health and weight in check.

Try out weight training and some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). These strategies blast belly fat (and body fat, mind you) as well as toning and shaping your body.

Your gut bacteria

This is a big one. A lot of people don't realise that having gut sensitivities can cause belly fat! Gut health is essential to maintain a healthy immune system and avoid disease (and belly fat). Having the wrong kind of gut bacteria can lead to belly fat and obesity.

Stress and high cortisol levels

Although cortisol is needed, too much of it can lead to weight gain, especially in the abdominal area.

A lot of people are driven to overeat because of stress. Instead of the excess calories stored as fat all over the body, cortisol promotes fat storage in the belly. Women who have larger waists in proportion to their hips can secrete more cortisol when stressed. Learn to manage your stress in a way that resonates with you.

Life is too short to lead it with poor nutrition and habits. If anything, think of what your life will be like five years from now. Do you want it to be the same as today - or do you want something better? Only you can decide and make the arrangements to change.

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