Men’s belly fat – more dangerous than you think

It’s time to plant your heels in front of a full-length mirror, turn to the right or left and take a look at yourself in profile.462162145

Be honest – is the figure looking back in pretty good shape, or do you look as though you’re smuggling a canned ham underneath your shirt?

If you fall in the former category, then you can stop reading here. If you’re in the latter category, then you’re not alone.

Belly fat is the most common way men gain weight. Here’s the secret to gaining unwanted weight: being a couch pomme de terre (potato) rather than exercising, and by stuffing yourself with the wrong sort of stuff.

It’s in your best interest to get rid of the belly fat for a variety of reasons.

  • You will reduce your risk of diabetes due to extra weight.
  • Your body’s metabolism won’t be thrown off by extra weight.
  • Your body will stop producing estrogen, a female hormone that kicks into gear when you’re overweight.
  • Women will adore you.

“Few men know about the estrogen part,” says Oakwood physician Christopher DeAngelis, DO. Dr. DeAngelis, who practices internal medicine in Woodhaven, is in training for his second Detroit Free Press marathon. He avoids sugars, eats breakfast, lunch and dinner (“skipping meals confuses the body”) and works out regularly.

“Refined carbs and sugars are the worst,” Dr. DeAngelis says. “Take pop and sports drinks – the body goes on overload and stores it into fat cells. Stick with water instead.”

Carbohydrates, which are made of sugars, are hurting your chances of getting rid of belly fat. Dr. DeAngelis says the three top carbs that get most men into trouble are breads, fast foods such as French fries and an over-abundance of snack foods.

“What you’re looking for is a healthy meal that is not too regimented,” Dr. DeAngelis says. “Keep it simple. Picture a grocery store. To avoid complex, processed foods, shop the edges of the store, where most stores stock fruits, vegetables, yogurts, meats. Protein is very important in a good diet.

“Avoid the complex, processed food in the middle of the store,” he adds. “Stay away from the prepared diet foods.”

Dr. DeAngelis stressed the importance of the right kind of exercise. He says to forget about sit-ups alone because spot reducing doesn’t work. “I tell my patients to walk two or three miles per day. It’s the best and easiest exercise there is. Then throw in core strengthening and training. It’s a whole package.”

June is Men’s Health Month. For more information on how to stay healthy, visit our men’s health page on Oakwood.org.

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