The main reason for the growth of the tummy in men and women is improper nutrition, rich in ultra-processed foods against the background of a sedentary lifestyle.
In addition, hormone levels and mood also play an important role. For example, high cortisol increases cravings for sweet foods, while also accelerating fat gain in the abdominal area.
When it comes to nutrients, statistics show that most people whose tummy grows quickly suffer from chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies. For example, only 30% get enough magnesium, which controls the body’s energy use. Dietary iodine deficiency is another common cause of weight gain.
Read on to understand what are the main causes of a rapidly growing belly and what to do to counteract this effect.
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Why does the belly grow?
Many factors can cause a dramatic increase in belly size, from age-related hormonal changes to loss of mobility due to injury. Therefore, it is important to “seize the moment” and stop the weight gain in just the right time; otherwise the negative changes (and fat gain) will only accelerate over time.
The main causes of why the belly grows are described below:
1. Not measuring portions
By consuming food with more energy than your body requires, it is inevitable that extra fat deposition will occur and that the belly will grow Remember that a handful of sweets a day (200-300 kcal) will provide a weight gain of 8-10 kg per year.
2. Love of sweets
Eating even a small amount of candy dramatically increases your blood glucose level; After a few minutes, this level decreases and you feel the characteristic desire to have a snack and eat something tasty. To avoid weight gain, it is important not only to study the information on the glycemic index, but also to limit the intake of pure sugar and starches as much as possible, giving up not only chocolate and sweets, but also fruit juices. and even sweetened yogurts.
3. High levels of stress
Chronic stress can literally wear out the body. High levels of cortisol not only increase appetite, increasing cravings for refined carbohydrates, but also interrupt sleep, consequently the belly grows.
4. Alteration of the thyroid gland
Low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) are characterized by severe metabolic disorders, including rapid weight gain, chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and the inability to get enough sleep even when very sleepy. One of the frequent reasons for a decrease in thyroid hormones is a lack of iodine, which can be corrected in the simplest way: adding it to the diet.
5. Age-related hormonal changes
At the age of 45-50 years, menopause begins in women, characterized by a change in metabolism. According to studies, the average weight gain during this period is 5 to 7 kg. (3) In men, the decrease in the level of testosterone, the most important male hormone, leads not only to an acute loss of muscle mass, but can also lead to the growth of the tummy.
6. Take medications
Taking certain medications can cause changes in metabolism and an increase in the level of body fat. Some examples are antidepressants, antipsychotics, diabetes, high blood pressure, and anabolic steroids.
Each of these drugs has its own mechanism of influence on rapid weight gain, from increasing appetite to affecting insulin levels or even fat absorption. If you notice weight gain while using a new medicine, talk to your doctor.
7. Lack of sleep
Lack of adequate sleep and chronic deprivation of getting enough hours of sleep is very stressful on the body. Since not only muscles are restored during sleep, but also the brain, lack of sleep significantly disrupts nervous biochemical processes.
Lack of sleep literally deprives a person of energy: trying to compensate, many people consume not only more coffee, but also food. This affects the quality and quantity of the food that is consumed.
8. Overestimating physical exercise
It should be noted that sports not only speed up metabolism, but also increase appetite. By trying to lose weight only by increasing your level of physical activity, but not following a diet, you can even gain weight by increasing the portions you eat.
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Causes of rapid weight gain
When talking about the causes of excess weight , it is important to separate the primary and secondary factors. For example, an excess of simple carbohydrates and saturated fat in the diet is the main factor in metabolic disorders. While lack of energy and unwillingness to exercise are secondary.
Hormonal changes related to age and mood also affect weight gain significantly. For example, from 30-35 in men, the level of the hormone testosterone drops , as a result the muscle mass decreases and the need for calories also decreases. However, it is rare for a grown man to eat less and then the belly grows fast.
In turn, in postmenopausal women, the metabolism also changes. Estrogens decrease, and physical activity usually decreases. Statistics show that during this period, women gain on average 5-7 kg of excess weight. (3).
Increased belly size: the effect of hormones
The human appetite is controlled by three key hormones. The hormone leptin , produced in adipose tissue, creates a feeling of fullness and stops food intake.
The hormone ghrelin , produced in the stomach, creates food cravings and “turns on” the feeling of hunger. Additionally, spikes in the hormone insulin create sugar cravings.
To maintain a stable weight, the production of these hormones must be balanced; however, refined carbohydrates and saturated fat cause disorders and break down the metabolism.
So the more fat there is in the human body, the more metabolic function is disturbed. In particular, the internal fat within the abdominal cavity pushes the belly forward, giving the figure a characteristic rounded shape.
A sudden increase in the size of the belly is a serious problem that not only has aesthetic consequences, but also generates numerous health risks. One of the typical causes of increased abdominal fat is high cortisol levels. Also, weight gain is often a cause of diabetes or prediabetes.