If antioxidants are the good guys of gut health, trans fats are the supervillains. These sneaky fats actively contribute to your wobbly waist – not just by adding new fat, but by moving fat from other areas of your body to your belly. During a six-year study at Wake Forest University, monkeys that were fed an 8 per cent trans fat diet had 33 per cent more belly fat than monkeys that were fed an 8 per cent monounsaturated fat diet.
Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's Health's contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the New York Yankees MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Cynthia is a three time New York Times best selling author, and her brand new book is Slim Down Now: Shed Pounds and Inches with Real Food, Real Fast. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
An easy way to determine if you have too much belly fat is to measure yourself at home. Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your bare stomach, directly above your hip bone. The tape should be snug but not too tight. For women, a measurement of 35 inches or more indicates an unhealthy amount of belly fat. For men, a measurement of 40 inches or more indicates an unhealthy measure.
Another common problem for women experiencing the post-pregnancy belly bulge is that pregnancy acts to stimulate fat-storing hormones. To counter this, experts recommend taking fish oil supplements. To be specific, anywhere from three to five 1,000mg capsules per day—which help to activate fat-burning hormones, and de-activate fat-storing ones. A diet that is rich in nuts, oils and olives also helps to burn fat.
The stress hormone cortisol can really screw with your belly. The problem with cortisol is two-fold: First, the chemical makeup of cortisol causes the body to store visceral fat. Visceral fat is stored between your main organs and in the midsection and is the most dangerous type of fat. Experts state that visceral fat increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease.