Two-thirds of Black men are overweight or obese. But this is one case where following the crowd is not the best idea, because extra weight—especially belly fat—can be risky. And while women often put on extra pounds in the hips, thighs and legs, men are much more likely to gain belly fat.
Why You Need to Lose It
Although the link between belly fat and health is not entirely clear, experts do know that people with a lot of belly fat are at higher risk of health problems than are people who accumulate fat in other areas—and men are more likely than women to put on weight around the waist.
You may think that belly fat is limited to the stuff out front that you can grab with your hand—but it’s the fat you can’t see that’s really a cause for concern. Visceral fat lies deeper inside the abdomen, surrounding the abdominal organs.
Gaining this type of fat has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other health problems. Subcutaneous fat, located between the skin and the abdominal wall, is more visible but also less likely to be a health risk.
Our bodies are designed to store fat for release during times when there is not enough food. But when we put on weight and never have these lean times, fat cells begin to release fat molecules into the blood at a higher rate. This affects normal metabolism and the way the body uses insulin. These metabolic changes can worsen or increase your risk of health problems, including:
• Heart disease
• Some type of cancers
• Metabolic Syndrome
• Gall bladder problems
• High blood pressure
• Sleep apnea
• Abnormal lipids—High triglycerides and low HDL (good cholesterol)
• Insulin resistance
Age and Belly Fat
Men tend to put on more belly fat as they get older. While some men struggle with weight their whole life, a lot of men start to notice their increasing waistline in their 30s— and gradually put on pounds as the years go by. For many men, the eating and exercise habits that kept them thin in their youth are just not enough to keep the weight off as they get older. The solution? As you get older, you have to change the way you eat and how active you are to stay slim or loose weight.
Fight Back the Bulge
The only tried-and-true method to lose fat of any kind is to:
Reduce the amount of calories you take in. You can do this by eating smaller amounts of food, or stick to foods that have fewer calories.
To accomplish the above two fat-fighting goals: