Seven Reasons You Might Be Getting a Fat Belly
Public health authorities tell people to count calories to maintain their weight. But consider what regulates human fat tissue. The hormone insulin plays a profound role – far more profound, it turns out, than does calorie counting. Higher concentrations of circulating insulin drive the body to store energy in the fat tissue in the form of triglycerides. Thus, theoretically, anything that influences basil insulin levels can influence how much fat gets stored in the belly.
So What Influences Insulin?Myriad factors influence the body’s balance of hormones. These theoretically can all cause truncal obesity, a.k.a. the dreaded beer belly. They include:
- The kinds of calories eaten. Carbohydrate and sugar calories tend to be more “insulinogenic” than calories from fat and protein.
- Amount of sleep. Studies suggest that if you don’t get enough sleep, your insulin levels can be adversely affected.
- Amount of stress. Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol (a condition technically called hypercortisolemia) can adversely impact insulin levels.
- Certain medications. Studies on drugs like SSRIs, MAOs, and tricyclic antidepressants suggest that these medications can cause insulin resistance in some people.
- Normal changes in the body’s hormonal patterns. Menarche, puberty, pregnancy and menopause, for instance, have all been linked with changes in weight as well as changes in insulin levels.
- Seasons. Insulin levels in the population fluctuate with respect to the seasons of the year. This might explain why people tend to gain weight during the winter and lose it during the summer.
- Diseases and medical conditions. Cushing syndrome, Leprechaunism and other diseases, both acquired and genetic, can change the balance of hormones in the body.
Normalizing Insulin and Blood SugarDifferent medications, such as the anti-diabetes drug Metformin, as well as diet changes, such as cutting sugar and refined carbs, can help people normalize their blood sugar and insulin levels. Speak with a physician and, perhaps, an endocrinologist to understand how your beer belly might be related to changes to hormonal balance.
Also, read about the science of insulin and fat tissue metabolism. Consider these books:
- Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
- Life Without Bread by Christian Allan and Dr. Wolfgang Lutz
- The South Beach Diet by Dr. Arthur Agataston
- Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution by Dr. Robert Atkins
- Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution by Dr. Bernstein
- Protein Power by Dr. Michael Eades