A: Exercise is probably not going to help your pot belly.
A pot belly comes from one of about 3 things. It could be either:
- Fat deposits laid down over the belly itself.
- Gas from bloating inside the digestive tract.
- Inflammation from the tissue of and surrounding the digestive tract.
So to answer the question we have to address these three possible causes and their respective answers, all of which come back to diet.
1. Fat Deposits
If you have fat deposits laid down over the belly and you don’t generally store it elsewhere, there is a great chance that your diet is responsible. You may be diabetic or pre-diabetic and you may be drinking too much beer or other alcohol. You may also be ingesting toxins which are impacting your liver’s ability to detoxify your blood (so it quarantines the toxins inside fatty deposits). You will need to clean up your diet to see that belly go, so I’m sorry but exercise will not make a large difference!
The most common causes are usually foods that gut bacteria like to party on, usually things that contain complex sugars, such as milk, beans/legumes, or other excessive carbohydrates. Check for foods that rate as high FODMAPs (Google search this if you haven’t heard of them), and reduce your FODMAP intake. It can be caused by a syndrome known as SIBO (Small intestine bacterial overgrowth) which is tenacious and difficult to get rid of.
“swallowing an A-bomb of antibiotics is not necessarily the right way to address your problem”
There is a specific type of antibiotic which is designed to help with SIBO and is known as Rifaximin. Just be aware that antibiotics come with a price. You need good bacteria in your digestive tract and swallowing an A-bomb of antibiotics is not necessarily the right way to address your problem. By reducing FODMAPs you decrease the food supply for the bacteria that love partying up your gut and they should naturally decline in number. With persistence you may be able to ditch your problem.
Be aware that SIBO can be very complex. Digestion itself is complex – the gut receives multiple messages from the brain all the time telling it which way to contract, what chemical to release when, how much of it to release and when to be inactive. If the messages aren’t coming through properly your gut may be contracting to send food in the right direction ← and then it might be sending food particles back in the other direction! →
Your gut should have large amounts of bacteria in the large intestine but relatively very small amounts in the small intestine. If food particles are sent the wrong way, you may get large amounts of bacteria colonising the small intestine. As I said, it can be a very complex problem and it is best to address it with a naturopath or other excellent health care practitioner.
“You must identify these culprits and avoid them”If you are eating foods that you are intolerant to or have antibodies against, you will experience inflammation of the gut and nearby tissue. You must identify these culprits and avoid them. If you experience eczema and you identify and eliminate these targets, you will very likely find that you eczema improves. It can be from artificial chemicals, or some of the other most common targets are wheat/gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and nightshades (potato, tomato, chilli, eggplant, capsicum). It’s also worth putting a magnifying glass over the garlic/onion family.
It’s a shame there isn’t one easy solution, however with persistence you should see results by addressing these factors. If you are lost I definitely suggest seeing a naturopath because they are excellent at determining what’s going on and which steps are the most likely ones to be effective for you.
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