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The #1 Cause of Fat Deep in Your Belly

This is the #1 cause of your dangerous belly fat.

Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is body fat stored deep under the muscles in the abdominal area, surrounding crucial organs such as the liver, intestines and pancreas. Known as "active fat" for the potentially dangerous impact it can have on hormones and health, visceral fat has been linked to heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and more. While "middle-aged spread" can be uncomfortable and unsightly to live with, it can be reversed. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Exercise to Lose Visceral Fat

women walking together

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, moderate, consistent exercise is crucial for both the prevention and treatment of belly fat: Just a brisk 30-minute walk six times a week is an easy way to help keep visceral fat levels down. 

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Sugar and Simple Carbs Are Bad News For Your Belly


A nutritionally poor diet high in sugar and simple carbohydrates is a major factor in visceral fat accumulation. "Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks," says Harvard Health. "Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help."

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Measure Your Waist

measuring waist weight loss

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, there is a greater risk of belly fat being linked to dangerous health conditions if your waist is more than 40 inches if you're a woman, and more than 35 inches if you're a man.

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Manage Your Stress

stressed woman

"If you're feeling stressed out, especially right now that we're in the middle of a pandemic, your body is likely releasing the stress hormone, cortisol, into the bloodstream," says the Cleveland Clinic. "This can not only lead to weight gain, but there's also a strong link between an increase in cortisol and higher amounts of visceral fat."

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The #1 Cause of Belly Fat Is Within Your Control

woman sleeps peacefully in plush gray bedding

Factors such as a bad diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress, and even lack of quality sleep can all lead to an increase in dangerous belly fat—but the good news is you can take control by making simple changes to your daily routine and habits. "A five-year study found that adults under age 40 who slept five hours or less a night accumulated significantly more visceral fat," says Harvard Health. "But too much isn't good, either — young adults who slept more than eight hours also added visceral fat." So eat right, manage your stress, get your sleep, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan