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Hard vs Soft Bellies

Men are more likely than women to develop big bellies as they age. Some have soft bellies and others have hard bellies.

As men reach middle age, their testosterone levels will inevitably begin to decline. Low testosterone causes middle-aged men to develop the tell tale ‘pot-belly’. Testosterone helps build muscle mass which means that low levels of testosterone can cause men to lose muscle mass and fat easily takes its place in the body which results in a softer and rounder shape.

Visceral (Hard) Belly Fat

A hard belly is caused by a high accumulation of visceral fat, which is located behind the abdominal wall and surrounds the organs. The abdominal wall is made up of harder tissues which includes muscle. This is the reason why the belly will feel and look hard.

Visceral fat has more access to the blood supply because of where it is located in the abdomen. This can be a risk factor for heart disease. A huge concern is that visceral fat produces hormonal and inflammatory molecules. The body becomes inflamed and inflammation is at the root of most diseases. The metabolism also suffers when there’s more fat stored around the visceral organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys and intestines.

Signs of visceral fat include expanding of the waist as well as protruding bellies. ₁

Subcutaneous (Soft) Belly Fat

Subcutaneous belly fat sits directly under the skin and is not necessarily hazardous. Along with excess soft belly fat, other symptoms of lower-than-normal testosterone levels include weakness, depression and fatigue.

Diet and exercise are the two easiest and safest ways to decrease subcutaneous fat while possibly increasing fat free mass or muscle mass, in the long term. Subcutaneous fat lurks just under the skin, which results in a soft, flabby waistline. However, it doesn’t carry the same health risks as visceral fat, but it can be very unattractive and often harder to lose.

Beating Big Bellies

Gert Coetzee, pharmacist and diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About says that men should replace sugars and starches in their diet with high-fibre and protein-rich foods, in order to get rid of belly fat. It’s better to go for lean protein sources such as eggs, fish, nuts and skinless chicken. Eating more vegetables is also very important.

Coetzee shares other important tips to help you lose belly fat:

  • Avoid sweetened drinks and cut out all sugar.

  • Do cardio exercises.

  • Replace your cooking oils with coconut oil.

  • Drink green tea.

For more information about The Diet Everyone Talks About, and where it is offered in your area visit the-diet.co.za 

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