Diabetes is a growing problem in the UK and can result in many serious health issues including hardening of the arteries, kidney damage, vision problems, nerve damage, lower limb problems and impotence.
95% of all cases of diabetes are type 2, and most of these are attributed to obesity. More specifically, belly fat is a major indicator of increased diabetes risk.
Belly fat poses a far greater health risk than other types of fat as it literally strangle and poisons the internal organs.
What Causes Belly Fat?
To help understand how you can reduce the chances of developing type 2 diabetes it is important to understand what causes belly fat in the first place. Here are the main causes:
- A poor diet that is low in nutrition and high in calories is the main cause
- Too much sugar is most often the reason why a diet is too high in energy
- A lack of exercise contributes to gaining belly fat, but it is really just a secondary factor
Belly fat is affecting women more now too. Men have always been at greatest risk, especially men that drink a lot of beer. However, women are starting to develop larger bellies as they gain even more weight.
Where you accumulate fat is determined by your genetics. Women generally accumulate fat on the thighs, bottom, hips and breast first, and stomach last. Men however are more likely to develop a belly before other areas. This is why traditionally men have been at greater risk. But now that everyone is getting much fatter, women are also piling on extra belly fat.
England is Catching Up With America
The latest research into the relationship of belly fat and diabetes has shown that although America still has a greater obesity problem, we are starting to catch them up. As a nation Great Britain is still getting fatter.
Blood Sugar and Belly Fat
The main reason that belly fat is far more dangerous that fat in other areas is because belly fat affects the way the internal organs regulate blood sugar levels. This interruption is a key cause of the development of diabetes.
The reason why this happens is because the hormone insulin causes the liver to store sugar for future needs. However, belly fat can slow down this process which means that blood sugar levels rise. Although exercising helps to burn fat it is not enough to successfully lose weight. Diet is vital.
Weight Loss Equation
To lose belly fat you must follow the basic weight loss equation:
Total calories consumed must be less than calories used. So if you are burning 1800 calories a day while at rest (related to resting metabolic rate) and a further 200 calories through exercise, then you need to be consuming significantly less than 2000 calories a day to lose weight.
Guidelines states that a reduction of 500 calories a day is required to lose 1 pound per week. Or if you want to lose weight faster then a reduction of 1000 calories a day will help you to lose 2 pounds per week (about 1 kg). Rapid weight loss cannot be maintained though and exercise is essential to prevent your metabolism slowing down.
The findings were published online by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.