Can’t seem to shake the belly fat even with a vigorous exercise regimen? You may want to have a look at the number of sugary beverages you’re drinking on any given day.
According to recent research published in the journal Circulation, people with a sugary beverage habit are also likely to have a greater accumulation of deep belly fat, also known as visceral fat.
Visceral fat is closely linked with type 2 diabetes and a greater risk of developing heart disease.
The study looked at the dietary habits of more than 1,000 adults and noted that those who consumed at least one sugar-sweetened beverage per day were more likely to see a greater increase in deep abdominal belly fat over the following six years.
While not the first study to link excessive sugar consumption to health risks including belly fat, but, according to the Chicago Tribune, it’s the first study of its kind to suggest a "mechanism" behind the relationship between sugary drinks and belly fat.
“At the outset, 13 percent of the study group said they drank at least one sugar-sweetened beverage every day,” reports the Tribune. “And on average, those men and women showed the greatest increase in visceral fat over the next six years.
“Compared with people who never had sugary drinks, daily consumers accumulated about 27 percent more visceral fat.”
The American Beverage Association, an industry trade organization representing the major manufacturers of sweetened beverages, says the study doesn’t prove that sugary beverages are the cause behind all belly fat.
But it certainly shows strong correlation.
People who regularly consume sugary beverages may also be more likely to consume other less healthy foods including processed and fast foods, making their overall dietary habits ripe for causing the gain in visceral fat.
Looking to reduce your sugary beverage habit?
Start drinking more water, particularly upon waking and again before each meal. The more water you drink, the more hydrated you are and the less likely you’ll be to chug down sugary drinks.
And try to start your day off with a protein-packed smoothie, sweetened only with fresh fruit. Adding a high-quality whey protein to your smoothie will also give you a protein boost that can keep you from craving sugary beverages.
image: orin zebest
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