The Military Diet promises fast weight loss and the 3 day diet delivers. But what about stubborn belly fat, the unhealthiest fat in your body, responsible for diseases like diabetes and cancer? In medicine, they call belly fat ‘visceral fat’, meaning the fat that surrounds all your abdominal organs. You can be normal weight and STILL have belly fat. The Military Diet is great for losing weight, but let’s look at what causes stubborn belly fat in the first place.
Sugar, of course! People eat way more sugar than they realize. You might think you’re making a healthier choice by eating a muffin instead of a donut, but that muffin is just cake in disguise. You might think ice tea is a healthier choice than Coke, but check the sugar content on the can. Flavored coffee drinks are another big source of secret sugar. Frequently eating foods and drinks high in sugar causes belly fat.
When consumed moderately, especially red wine, the health effects of alcohol are negligible. But in higher doses over time, alcohol decreases fat burning and the excess calories from alcohol are stored as belly fat. This is why the term ‘beer belly’ was invented. Studies show that heavy drinkers are more likely to gain weight around their middle. And if you quit drinking for any amount of time, your middle section is exactly where you will lose weight.
Sitting on the couch for long periods of time, aka ‘a sedentary lifestyle’, is a big risk for bad health. No surprise that people who watch more than three hours of TV a day have twice as much belly fat compared to people who watch less.
Eating protein is a very important factor in preventing weight gain. Higher protein diets keep the body satisfied and increase metabolism. A diet low in protein and high in carbs will definitely cause an increase in belly fat over time. Just to note, protein doesn’t have to come from meat either. Research high protein vegetarian food like chia, quinoa, hemp and spinach.
Women gain belly fat during menopause. Estrogen levels drop during menopause causing fat to be stored in the abdomen instead of the hips and thighs, where fat is stored during child bearing years. Menopause causes fat to be redistributed throughout the body, but if you lose weight on the Military Diet, you will lose fat all over your body.
The bacteria in your colon benefit your health, but some bacteria causes problems, like weight gain. The wrong kind of gut bacteria in your biome, like Firmicutes bacteria, may increase the amount of calories absorbed from food, resulting in weight gain. Studies have shown that the more Bacteroidetes you have compared to Firmicutes, the skinnier you will be. Do your research and try to get your gut bacteria balanced to prevent belly fat.
Fiber used to be a buzz word in the nutrition biz, but it’s still a very important element in controlling your weight. Diets low in fiber tend to be high in refined carbs, like white bread and white pasta. And we know what the latter does to our waist! High fiber foods keep you full for longer and don’t mess with your hormones. Eating high fiber breads and grains instead of the processed stuff will keep your belly leaner.
If you’re one of those people who don’t get enough sleep every night, expect an increase in abdominal fat. People who sleep 5 or less hours a night are more likely to gain weight in a year versus people who get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.