Belly fat, more clinically known as central obesity, is a build-up of fat around the abdominal region which results in an increase in one’s waist circumference. This visceral fat is located within the peritoneal cavity, surrounding the internal organs of the abdomen. The excess fat results in an enlarged abdomen that often protrudes excessively – hence the term “pot belly.”
Belly fat is statistically correlated with a number of serious health conditions, one of which is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the medical condition in which the body is no longer responsive to a physiologically normal level of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the body to regulate carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. It is secreted by the pancreas when glucose and protein from ingested food is absorbed into the bloodstream. Insulin stops body cells from using fat for energy (through inhibiting the release of glucagon) and encourages cells to take up glucose instead. Insulin resistance occurs when body cells no longer respond to the hormone and the level of glucose in the blood is not controlled adequately.
Studies have shown a correlation between belly fat and insulin resistance. Increased fat tissue raises the level of serum resistin, which is a hormone that has been found to directly correlated with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, it seems that belly fat is the foremost type of fat that contributes to a rise in the level of serum resistin.
The contribution that belly fat makes to insulin resistance is a serious health problem. This is because insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, belly fat is associated with other conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. Therefore, it is important to try and eliminate the belly fat so that you can enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
It is a common misconception that stomach exercises such as sit-ups will burn away the belly fat. Although stomach exercises will strengthen and enlarge the core muscles of the abdomen (producing what is commonly known as a “six-pack”), the belly fat will still be there unless there is a significant overall weight loss. In fact, if you have a pot belly, even if you have a spectacular six-pack, it will not be visible underneath all that belly fat.
However, all hope is not lost. Losing weight through a healthy nutritious diet and aerobic exercises is vital to reversing the condition. In addition, studies have found that serum resistin levels decline with decreased fat tissue. If you suffer from belly fat, it is important to consult a medical professional and find out how you are turn around this situation.