The #1 Cause of Abdominal Obesity — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


Welcome to Eat This Not That, the ultimate guide to understanding the #1 cause of abdominal obesity. We’ll help you identify the foods that are causing your abdominal obesity and provide you with healthier alternatives. We’ll also provide you with tips and tricks to help you make better food choices and create a healthier lifestyle. So, let’s get started!

The #1 Cause of Abdominal Obesity — Eat This Not That

Abdominal obesity, or belly fat, is a major health concern for many people. It can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. But what is the #1 cause of abdominal obesity?

The answer is simple: an unhealthy diet. Eating too much processed and sugary foods, as well as foods high in saturated fat, can lead to weight gain and abdominal obesity. Eating too few fruits and vegetables can also contribute to weight gain.

The good news is that you can reduce your risk of abdominal obesity by making healthier food choices. Here are some tips to help you eat this, not that:

  • Choose whole grains over refined grains.
  • Choose lean proteins such as fish, chicken, and beans.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit your intake of processed and sugary foods.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fat.

Making healthier food choices can help you reduce your risk of abdominal obesity and other chronic diseases. So, eat this, not that, and you’ll be on your way to a healthier you!

Excessive belly fat—also known as visceral fat—doesn’t just take a toll on your looks. It can be seriously hazardous to your health. Visceral fat is different from subcutaneous fat, the fat that lies under your skin which you can grab or pinch. Visceral fat sits deep within the abdomen, around the intestines, stomach, liver and pancreas. There, it releases toxins that increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and other major health problems. Read on to find out the #1 cause of abdominal obesity—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.

Woman reaching for chip and holding soda in processed junk food array on table with popcorn

The #1 cause of visceral fat is a poor diet, particularly one high in added sugar, processed foods, and simple carbs (which the body quickly converts to sugar). That leads to weight gain that’s often difficult to lose, particularly in the abdominal area. “​​Fructose, or sugar, causes fat cells to mature faster, specifically in the visceral fat,” says the Cleveland Clinic. “A diet filled with fructose-containing sodas or drinks not only increases your calorie intake, but it impacts how the belly fat develops.” 

RELATED: 5 Best Ways to Reduce Visceral Fat

Overweight couple watching tv at home

If you eat too much and exercise too little, you’re likely to carry excess weight — including belly fat,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Your muscle mass might diminish slightly with age, while fat increases. Loss of muscle mass also decreases the rate at which your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.” Your move: Get plenty of exercise. Moderate physical activity combined with strength training seems to work best at burning belly fat. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, including two sessions of strength training. 

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Man relaxing with bourbon whiskey drink alcoholic beverage in hand and using mobile smartphone

To avoid a beer belly, don’t think you’re safe if you only stick to spirits. And it’s not just because alcohol tends to make you hungrier. The liver processes alcohol before anything else and will use those calories for energy. So if you drink to excess before or while you’re eating, the liver—busy processing alcohol—will store the protein and carbs you consume as fat. Guess where? To avoid the booze bulge, drink moderately: No more than two drinks a day for men and one drink for women.

RELATED: Everyday Habits That Make You Look Older, According to Science


Chronic stress causes the body to produce more cortisol, the stress hormone, to help it cope. One of the things cortisol tells the body to do: Hold on to fat around the abdomen in case of emergency. This can give even otherwise thin people a bulging belly. Try to reduce stress with exercise and relaxation techniques, and talk to your doctor if you need help. 

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30-something woman having trouble sleeping

Researchers at Wake Forest University found that dieters who slept five hours or less every night put on 2 1/2 times more belly fat than people who slept adequately (seven to nine hours a night). And night owls beware: A 2021 study found that people who went to bed at midnight or later late had a 20% greater risk of abdominal obesity. The risk was even higher—38%—for people who went to bed between 2am and 6am. Scientists theorize that going to bed late might throw off circadian rhythms, causing the body to produce more cortisol. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.