Well over 70 million Americans are afflicted with a pot belly.

There are many theories exist as to its cause, several factors (not just one) are responsible for the existence of the condition.

It is unlikely that a person will lose a pot belly simply by doing crunches, leg lifts or similar kinds of abdominal exercises. Dieting alone will seldom facilitate effective pot belly reduction.

A pot belly is not always caused by the accumulation of fat in the body. Many people who possess pot bellies are not “fat.”

Many programs fail to work because the approaches they utilize are fundamentally ineffective. Too often, weight reduction programs are used to address the pot belly condition. This approach is often unreliable.

Possessing a pot belly is seldom seen as a life-threatening situation, it can, and often does, form the basis for more serious health problems.

There are people who would think that getting rid of a pot belly requires the same procedure or approach that is used to lose weight (fat) from the body. An important difference in the way both conditions are addressed is the manner in which food is used.

Most weight reduction diets will place emphasis on the selecting and using of high nutrient foods that are low in calories. An effective pot belly reduction diet will, on the other hand, be less restrictive while placing emphasis on how particular food items affect pot belly reduction. A good example of this is the extent to which the gas content or the gas forming potential of particular food items hampers the reduction process.

An effective pot belly reduction program will make use of foods that are important to good health and are capable of addressing the pot belly condition. Such foods will include, but not be limited to, the following:

• Foods low in fat and calories

• Fruits and vegetables (moderate to high intake)

• Complex carbohydrate (moderate intake)

• Non-harmful vegetable oils (olive oil, etc.)

• Seeds and nuts (moderate intake)

• Cereal and grains (moderate intake)

• Dark chocolate (moderate amounts)

• Adequate amounts of protein

Food will, normally, stay in the stomach from two to five hours. A basic premise of the Stomlost weight and pot belly reduction program is the belief that when food is allowed to stay for longer, the possibility exists that over time a pot belly could result. The process is a bit complex and involves a number of factors. One factor that is relevant to this article deals with abdominal gas and its impact on the development and maintenance of a pot belly.

According to the Stomlost program, certain food items, when consumed, increase the formation of gas in the body. Sturdy or complex foods such as protein and carbohydrates require much work to be broken down. They, therefore, travel through the digestive system at a relatively slow pace (when compared to the movement of some fruits and vegetables that are less complex and more delicate). When delicate foods have to “stick around” and wait for the more complex foods to be broken down, they often putrefy (rot). The result of this rotting is the formation of gas.

Gas, as we know, is a principal cause of stomach bloating and the many discomforts that accompany this condition. Its accumulation is to be avoided when one is attempting to prevent or get rid of a pot belly.

For the above reason, gas forming foods such as sodas, beer and other alcoholic beverages, beans, pastries and food items that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as xylitol or sorbitol should be avoided or used in moderation.

Vegetables such as Brussels sprout, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, as important as they are at facilitating good health, are gas forming and should be eaten wisely when any attempt is being made to get rid of a pot belly.

The Cultural Center of Charlotte County’s Fitness Center is offering a three-hour workshop entitled: Understanding & Getting Rid of Your Pot Belly. The workshop will take place March 13 (9 a.m. to noon). To attend, pre-registration is required. Call 941-625-4175, ext 223 or visit the Learning Place at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County: 2280 Aaron St., Port Charlotte.

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