Belly fat build-up is one of the most dangerous aspect of obesity. Increased belly fat is associated with metabolic syndrome. The risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases increases with increased belly fat and obesity.
According to obesity research, stress and obesity as well as belly fat deposits are linked.
Using animal models, researchers showed that stress and high-sugar, high fat diet caused obesity and belly fat buildup. High-sugar, high fat diet given to the animals studied was the equivalent of most American fast food or junk food diet.
Stressed mice fed high-sugar, high fat diet gained twice as much fat as non-stressed mice on the same diet. In comparison, non-stressed mice fed normal diet did not become obese.
In addition to abdominal obesity, stress and high-sugar, high fat diet also led to metabolic syndrome-like condition in the animals studied.
In today’s society, most people are time-starved and stressed out. What makes matters worse is that they’re also sleep-deprived. Sleep deprivation causes disruptions in hunger hormones and other metabolic changes. In addition, it also causes changes in production of stress-associated hormone, cortisol.
Cortisol levels normally rise and fall during the day, repeating a 24-hour cycle. Cortisol levels usually peak in the morning. Normal cortisol values at about 6 to 8 a.m. are 6 – 23 micrograms per deciliter. Around midnight, cortisol are usually at their lowest levels. Sleep-deprived individuals usually have an additional surge of cortisol secretion in early evening.
People dealing with stressful jobs or increased emotional stress usually have increased cortisol levels.
Unfortunately, cortisol reducers and other pills created to reduce stress-associated hormones have not been shown to be effective in weight loss or belly fat loss.
3 Tips on how to lose belly fat for good
1. Eating a plant-based diet and avoiding high-sugar, high fat junk food can prevent belly fat build-up and obesity.
A plant-based diet — including plenty of fruits and high-fiber, non-starchy vegetables as well as whole grains and healthy fats, such as nuts, olive and canola oil — is the healthiest way to eat
2. Exercising regularly can reduce stress and reduce belly fat. Endorphins are released during exercise. Endorphins are neurotransmitters which function as natural stress killers.
__ Exercising in the morning, including walking, jogging, dancing and running, can help counteract the effects of cortisol peak secretion at about 6 to 8 a.m.
__ Exercising in late afternoon or early evening can help counteract the effects of the additional surge of cortisol secretion in early evening for sleep-deprived individuals.
3. Stress management is absolutely necessary for belly fat loss for people dealing with stressful jobs or increased emotional stress.
__ Doing yoga, tai chi, meditation or any relaxation exercise in the morning can help counteract the effects of cortisol peak secretion at about 6 to 8 a.m.
__ Late afternoon or early evening relaxation exercises can help counteract the effects of additional surge of cortisol secretion in early evening for sleep-deprived individuals.
__ Chronic stress increases ghrelin levels which promotes hunger. Stress reduction can help decrease ghrelin levels. By reducing stress and ghrelin, increased hunger and overeating can be avoided.
__ Stress-associated hormone, cortisol, has been shown to directly cause the build-up of belly fat. By reducing stress and cortisol, belly fat can be reduced.
By preventing or decreasing belly fat build up, people can decrease risk for obesity-related diseases. Risk for belly fat-associated metabolic syndrome as well as risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases can be reduced by losing belly fat for good.