Weight gain and especially belly fat has been the topic of much discussion for years; you would find many Nigerian men with protruding stomachs. The most worrisome part is seeing young men who are just in their thirties with such protruding bellies. The African traditional school of thought, is that “the bigger the pot belly” the richer the person. This may explain why a huge number of African men are undisciplined in terms of proper eating habits and fitness. However, studies have proven this assertion to be untrue.
Imagine this scenario – you have got yourself an absolutely good suit or traditional attire to wear for a party two weeks from now. However, there is a little bit of a problem – there is no way of hiding your bulging belly fat in that attire.
Some men sometimes find themselves packing on the pounds around their abdomen. It comes in all shapes and sizes. It is important to note that if you have excess fat around your abdomen, you need to get active.
Research has shown that carrying excessive weight in your midsection is risky, especially for men. A larger waist circumference (or the measurement around your midsection) puts you at a higher risk for a variety of chronic diseases including heart disease, sleep apnea and even certain cancers (like colon or rectal cancer. In fact, having lots of fat in the abdominal area is strongly linked to diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, experts say.
Many studies have linked inadequate sleep with weight gain, which may include abdominal fat. Another major cause of belly fat is the frequent consumption of foods and beverages high in sugar or fructose.
In the same vein, in a small number of cases abdominal fat could be due to an imbalance in the body’s hormones caused by stress. This is according to scientists from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. They found, “Non-obese healthy young men exposed to long-term stress developed abdominal obesity.”
Other studies have revealed that heavy alcohol consumption can also increase risk of diseases and excess belly fat. The beer parlour is where many men arguably go to exhibit their sign of wealth, ordering bottles of premium brand beer or wine, bottle after bottle – stuffing their stomach excessively with friends and fellow beer drinkers.
However, one of the healthiest ways to combat belly fat is regular exercise. The expert opinion is that over 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. Several recent studies suggest that exercise plays a more important role in maintaining a lean belly. One study identified aerobic activity as a key factor. Researchers found that men who had higher levels of cardiovascular fitness (also called aerobic fitness) were more likely to have leaner midsections, even if those men were overweight.
Another strategy to combat belly fat is appropriate diet. Studies have shown that carbohydrate-rich foods can cause an increase in belly fat and waist circumference. Thus you need to limit your intake of empty carbohydrates like (white) bread, polished rice, crackers and pasta. If you are going to eat a carbohydrate-rich food, choose 100% whole grains. These foods are higher in fibre and some nutrients, and considered a healthier choice.
Also, studies show a couple of servings of low-fat yoghourt, semi-skimmed milk or soft cheese will help your body burn fat around your midriff. Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, studies have shown. So, satisfy your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Furthermore, eating healthy protein and healthy carbs can help slim your stomach. And for those men who will not ditch the alcohol, experts recommend that you have no more than two alcoholic beverages daily.
In conclusion, experts say that your lifestyle (how much you sleep, how stress effects your hormones that influence gaining or losing fat), your mind-set, changing to a low sugar lifestyle, and simply becoming active are all a part of ways to combat belly your fat.