Written by Bukola Adebayo - Nigeria
Is your belly growing in leaps and bounds? Are you adding more weight in spite of your best efforts to lose some? Fret not! It may be that you are not doing the right thing.
Nutritionists say that belly fat is tied directly to poor eating habit. They note that eating late night dinner is a sure way to pack on extra pounds in the mid section.
Consultant Nutritionist, Dr. Tayo Akinsanya, explains that it is often difficult for the body to digest food once it is in a relaxed state – the natural thing that happens at night.
Akinsanya explains that the digestive system is bound to relax on some of its functions once the day is winding down, and meals taken during this period are often not digested or its nutrients used up. He warns that the danger that lies in this is the fact that undigested foods are later converted to calories.
He says, "While it's true that your body naturally burns some flab as you sleep, it might not be able to efficiently do so when you go to bed on a full stomach. In fact, the body is overwhelmed when you load it with food at night so much so that it does not even touch it till the next day.
"Don't forget that you will quickly add breakfast the next day, so the body has to digest two meals within a short while. When it eventually does in the morning, you will have excess calories because you have also eaten breakfast.
"When calories are not used up due to inactivity, the body metabolises them and turns them to fat cells, which are naturally stored around the belly. Continuous cycle of late night snacking results in a bulging belly."
Aside from causing belly fat, Akinsanya adds that eating late and sleeping on a full stomach increase one's risk of developing acid reflux and indigestion. To prevent these conditions, the nutritionist counsels that one should eat smaller meals at night and also delay going to bed for some hours afterwards.
"If it will be impossible for you to avoid eating at night, maybe because you close late, then I recommend that you eat like a pauper at night. It must be a very small portion and don't lie down for at least three hours after dinner.
"I'd rather you snacked on fruit if you feel a bit hungry at night, instead of devouring a bowl of rice and meat or, a plate of solid food."
Apart from aesthetics, your waistline says a lot about your health. Physicians note that a protruding belly that is not due to pregnancy speaks volumes about a person's eating habits, lifestyle and general state of health.
Apart from the fact that it makes one look ugly in clothes, potbelly can cause anyone a great level of discomfort. The belly is that part of the body from which most people would want to lose fat; but, sadly, it is often the last area to give way in the race to reduce body weight. However, it is not something you can wave aside, as belly fat can lead to serious health problems.
Studies and research have proved that excess fat in the abdominal area could predispose one to terminal diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
It may also prove more difficult to get rid of belly fat as you grow older. Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Segun Adeoti, says one should not give up trying, as there is more to be gained in terms of longevity and a healthy life.
Adeoti, who notes that excess belly fat is more dangerous than excess fat around the hips and thighs, warns that carrying excess fat around the belly may also dispose one to some forms of cancer.
The cardiologist adds that you may need to shed some pound around the waist to reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading causes of death globally.
Adeoti states, "Studies on belly fat confirm that visceral fat – the type that gathers around internal organs in the stomach – is far more dangerous than having high blood pressure, which can be managed.
"People with high or normal weight who have big bellies have a 50 per cent risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, compared with people who are overweight but have no belly fat.
"Belly fat puts unnecessary pressure on blood vessels around the area; it disrupts blood circulation, it increases the volume of cholesterol flowing in the blood, increasing one's risk for heart attacks."
Here is another dietary advice you can take today that would help you shed some unnecessary weight, Get rid of carbonated drinks.
Can't last a day without gulping down a can or two of soda? If this is you, then you are certainly not being kind to your body. According to researchers, consuming one or two cans of soda daily causes your waistline to increase at least five times faster than those who barely drink soda in the course of a week.
The concept behind this is that the high amount of sugar used in sodas triggers your craving for food, so you end up eating more than you should during meal times. Diet sodas aren't any better than regular varieties, since these contain artificial sweeteners, which can increase your appetite as much as sugar does.
So, if you have that serious craving for a satisfying drink, opt for healthy smoothies, fresh fruit juices, or a glass of water. You are doing your body and overall health a favour by choosing a more nutritious drink that's also low in sugar content.
Since soda only causes you to add pounds without quenching your thirst, why bother drinking it at all? However, you can only shape up and lose those unsightly bulges when you are determined to do so.