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Belly fat; It is so embarrassing that there is a whole industry out there that thrives on miracle cures that promise they will make it go away. Unfortunately, there is no way to target belly fat in particular. But, understanding the causes of accumulating fat, on the belly or elsewhere, is the best way to devise countermeasures that should eventually do away with it.

Health risks

Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer go hand in hand with belly fat. The deepest layer of belly fat, located between the organs, is that which threatens health. Fatty cells from that layer produce substances such as hormones that may, in example, cause increased insulin resistance or elevate risk of developing breast cancer. Also, fat next to the liver can slide into it and cause a fatty liver, thus increasing risk of getting Type 2 diabetes or developing insulin resistance. Waist measurement at navel level is a good indicator of how problematic belly fat is. Circumference over 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men is regarded as unhealthy.

Make it go away

It is to be understood that how organism deposits and distributes fat is under influence of factors such as heredity and menopause that are not controllable. In example, fat tends to accumulate in waist region in post-menopausal women, or some people accumulate fat on the belly without any weight gain. Still, everybody can control quantity of body fat that the organism gets to deposit and distribute. If there is low fat level in the organism, no matter where that fat is deposited, it will not be troublesome either cosmetically or medically.

Exercise is a good way to burn fat away, and change of diet is needed to reduce calorie intake. Aerobic exercises will melt away fat from all regions of the body, and while there is no way to make fat from belly go away by targeting it with exercises, it is good to know that it is usually the first one to withdraw. Remember that "crunches make the fat go away" is a marketing trick - indeed, crunches make your abs harder and shape them, but that fat layer on top needs to be melted away by aerobic exercises if those abs are to be seen.

A little extra gained from exercising is reduction of stress and levels of insulin, which in turn cause reduction of cortisol levels. As high cortisol level is responsible for belly fat deposits, exercise is a good way to block further belly fat accumulation.

As for the diet, some recommendations are to switch to whole grains and food with higher ratio of mono unsaturated fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, soybeans), avoid margarines and snacks, eat soluble fiber foods such as apples or cherries, and increase intake of mono unsaturated fatty acids (olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, soybean oil, dark chocolate).

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