Healthy Living

Expert Explains How Carbs Lead To Belly Fat

Losing fat accumulated around the stomach is a tremendous task among people seeking to lose weight. Besides push ups, pull ups, lunges, yoga and other core-strengthening exercises, diet plays a significant role in reducing belly fat. Regulating metabolism by following a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates specifically comprising less than 40 percent of daily calorie intake is the first step.

Experts have shared some valuable information about carbohydrates that would be useful for those who are working toward the goal of eliminating body fat arond the abdominal region.

A registered dietician at The Green Chef, a healthy meal delivery service, Gabby Geerts told Popsugar that people who consume diets with high concentration of carbohydrates are more prone to gaining belly fat. 

Why Carbs Increase Belly Fat

A large waistline could be the product of sleep deprivation and stress over a long period of time, as well. However, when the carbohydrates get broken down into glucose, insulin is the hormone responsible for carrying glucose to various parts of the body requiring energy. “Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body, broken down and utilized as glucose by our cells," Geerts said. 

The problem arises when carbs are consumed in excess, and the body is not in need of energy. The glucose will inevitably be stored as fat after conversion to glycogen since there is no channel for it to be utilized, said Robert Milanes, founder of Luminary MD, a women’s health clinic in Irvine, California. 

On a high carb diet, insulin will need to work overtime to sustain the overburden of carbohydrates, and this leads to a condition called insulin resistance. Geerts explained further that when the ability of insulin to regulate glucose declines, the energy will be stored in the form of unhealthy fat. 

Metabolic Syndrome

When the waist size is more than 35 inches for women and exceeds 40 inches for men, it becomes a cause for concern and the diet should be regulated with the help of a doctor. The problem lies in the location of the fat, that is the belly.  One of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome is belly fat, which indicates certain health concerns: heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.  

The solution is to eliminate simple carbohydrates found in sugary drinks and processed foods that are unfortunately digested faster than complex carbs. Fresh fruits and legumes fill the stomach and stabilizes insulin levels, triggering energy use whenever needed and stops fat from being stored in this manner. 

Belly Fat A man with a large belly eats junk food on May 23, 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images