Most of the bacteria that dwell in your gut are pretty useful. They produce hormones, regulate your immune system, digest food, extract nutrients, control your mood, manage your appetite, and much more besides. That obese people tend to have higher numbers of Firmicutes bacteria is no coincidence – according to research published in the online journal Nature, these bacteria increase the number of calories your body absorbs from food.
You can develop lower belly fat at any age, though. The food you eat daily plays a serious role. The Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2009 published a study showing that consuming a significant amount -- about 25 percent of calories over just 10 weeks -- of fructose-sweetened drinks, including soda and fruit punches, increases visceral fat development. Other sugary foods can be to blame as well. Reduce your intake of candy, soda and processed baked goods to help lose your belly.
While the most exact way to measure visceral fat is by MRI or CT scan, an at-home approach is to calculate the waist-to-hip ratio by dividing the waist measurement by the hip measurement. For example, if the waist measures 56 inches and the hips measure 45 inches, dividing 45 into 56 gives a ratio of 1.2. A waist-to-hip ratio higher than 0.95 in men and 0.85 in women significantly increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Simply measure the waist to identify if there is a higher probability of excess visceral fat. In men, a waist measurement over 40 inches (and in women, a waist measurement over 35) indicates an unhealthy accumulation of visceral fat and an increased risk of health problems.
Unless you hit the genetic jackpot, the chances are that your tummy isn’t immune to showing its fat gains. Something interesting is that there are different kinds of belly fat, and they all require different techniques for shedding it. Belly fat isn’t merely an issue of appearance. Sure, it looks and feels nice to have a shredded tummy, but more important are the health implications.