Obesity and belly fat increase your risk of developing many chronic diseases including heart disease and certain types of cancer. Companies that sell weight loss products, such as diet pills and stomach wraps, frequently claim their products will burn belly fat rapidly and with minimal effort on the part of the consumer. Such claims are misleading, as many weight loss products are not effective or even safe. Your best bet for losing belly fat is a combination of diet and exercise.
Advertisements for stomach wrap weight loss products claim that by wearing a neoprene band around your waist, you can trim your waistline in a relatively quick amount of time -- in a testimonial for one belly wrap product, a man claims he lost six pant sizes after wearing the wrap for just eight weeks. Sellers of belly wraps claim these products work by "raising core body temperature," causing you to lose weight through sweat.
The truth about stomach wraps is that although these products may promote sweating, losing water weight is not the same as burning fat. Furthermore, stomach wraps may actually make it harder to tone abdominal muscles and lose fat. According to Pete McCall, spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, wearing a snug wrap around your midsection causes your abdominal muscles to relax, so they burn less calories than they would without the wrap. Moreover, stomach wraps may also counteract weight loss efforts by causing you to become overheated, which reduces your ability to work out at a sufficient duration and intensity for weight loss.
Besides being ineffective at promoting weight loss, wearing a belly wrap during exercise poses some health risks. Gary Hunter, professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Nutrition, says that the body releases a lot of heat through the stomach area. Therefore, wearing a stomach wrap during exercise may cause overheating, dehydration and, depending on the intensity of the workout and temperature of the environment, could result in heat stroke.
About Belly Fat
Although wearing a stomach wrap won't help you burn belly fat, minimizing the amount of fat around your midsection is important for your health. Compared to other types of fat on the body, belly fat is the most dangerous, as abdominal fat cells produce hormones that can negatively impact health. Having too much abdominal fat is associated with a number of diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, high blood pressure, colon cancer, metabolic syndrome and gallbladder problems.
Losing Belly Fat
The only safe, effective way to lose fat is by consuming less calories than you burn. You can achieve such a calorie deficit through diet, exercise, or, for the most benefits, combining both diet and exercise. Although you can't "spot burn" fat on any one region of the body, abdominal fat responds better to exercise than other types of fat, meaning that once you start losing weight from exercise, your belly will likely be the first area to shrink. According to Harvard Health Publications, the best type of exercise for losing stomach fat is daily, moderate-intensity physical activity like jogging.
Shannon George, former editor-in-chief of the trade magazine "Prime," holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University. Her health interests include vegetarian nutrition, weight training, yoga and training for foot races.