Things that can make you gain belly fat quicker
Here are 11 factors that can contribute to the development of excess belly fat:
Sugary foods and beverages
A diet high in added sugars, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, may increase belly fat. Most often, stick with water, unsweetened coffee/tea, and eating a diet rich in whole, minimally processed foods.
High alcohol consumption (greater than two drinks per day) is associated with weight gain and belly fat.
If you choose to drink, aim for no more than 1–2 drinks per day.
Artificial trans fats are strongly linked with poor heart health and may also lead to increased belly fat. Both the US and Canada have banned trans fats in commercial foods.
Sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity
A sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity are associated with a number of health risks, including weight gain and increased abdominal fat. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week.
Low protein diet
High protein intake is associated with lower abdominal fat and moderate body weight.
To increase your protein intake, try to include a high quality protein source at each meal and snack, such as lean meat, poultry, tofu, eggs, beans, and lentils.
Natural hormonal changes during menopause result in a shift in fat storage from the hips and thighs to fat stored around the abdomen.
If you have concerns, speak with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian nutritionist.
The wrong guy bacteria
Changes in bacteria diversity in the gut may be associated with higher weight and visceral fat.
Eating a low fiber diet high in sugar and saturated fat tends to be linked to unhealthy gut bacteria, whereas a fiber-dense diet rich in fruits and vegetables and whole, minimally processed foods seems to create a healthy gut.
Stress and cortisol
The hormone cortisol, which is secreted in response to stress, may lead to increased abdominal fat when in excess. Practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors is a key component of managing chronic stress and keeping cortisol levels in check.
Low fiber diet
A diet that’s low in fiber and high in refined grains may increase risk for weight gain and higher levels of belly fat.
Foods high in fiber include:
- whole grains
- plain popcorn
Though more research is needed, genetics may play a role in where we store fat in the body, including increased risk for abdominal fat accumulation.
Not enough sleep
Short sleep or low-quality sleep may lead to weight gain, including belly fat accumulation.