The Truth About That Beer Belly

Reader's Digest (India) - - Bonus Read - BY SU­SAN­NAH HICK­LING

Myth #1 I’m slim every­where else, so my belly’s not a big deal. I’m afraid that un­less you’re very tall or big-boned, if you wear trousers with a waist size over 40 inches (102 cm), you’ve got dou­ble the risk for heart dis­ease of a man the same age with a smaller waist. Fat round the midriff has been tied to high blood pres­sure, high choles­terol and in­sulin re­sis­tance. Th­ese prob­lems to­gether are called meta­bolic syn­drome, which can lead to di­a­betes. Myth #2 It’s caused by beer. Not di­rectly. A Ger­man study pub­lished in 2009 looked at more than 20,000 men and women and found that while knock­ing back beer made men put on weight, it had no re­la­tion­ship to a big gut. The real cause is a mix of poor eat­ing habits (too much high-fat, high-sugar food, and not enough lean pro­teins and fruit and veg), too lit­tle ex­er­cise, age and ge­net­ics. So it fol­lows that the guy who sits around a lot quaffing beer and munch­ing snacks is at risk of a beer belly. Myth #3 Guys aren’t self-con­scious about our tum­mies. Oh yes you are! A sur­vey from the Univer­sity of the West of Eng­land found that 80% of men talk about their bod­ies— mostly neg­a­tive talk about their big gut—and 35% would trade a year of their life for a more stream­lined, mus­cu­lar shape. Myth #4 Sit-ups will soon get rid of my gut. In fact, core train­ing won’t help you beat the bulge. What’s more, if you have a large belly and sud­denly start do­ing ab­domen ex­er­cises in­cor­rectly, you could end up pulling mus­cles. In­stead, fo­cus on aer­o­bic ex­er­cise and smaller por­tions.

If you lose just 5% of your body weight grad­u­ally, you’ll be bet­ter able to keep the weight off, shrink your gut and stay healthy.

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