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Skipping a meal to lose weight? Think twice! Missed meals may lead to extra belly fat.

Photo credit: Flickr user Theophilos Papadopoulos

During your busy day, it’s easy to miss a meal. But neglecting food to lose a few extra pounds could backfire. By skipping meals, you’re setting yourself up to possibly increase your waistline. (We know—you’re probably thinking: “I can’t win for losing.”)

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggests a link between skipping meals and belly fat buildup. Researchers found that a skipped meal could raise blood  glucose (sugar) levels, causing the body to store excess body fat around the abdominal area.

Along with affecting your appearance, having extra belly fat puts you at higher risk for chronic diseases. The larger your waistline, the greater the risk factor for developing heart disease, diabetes, or even stroke. Reducing abdominal weight lowers your risk.

Don’t think that you can’t control your waistline from expanding; controlling belly fat is possible with the following lifestyle changes:

Don’t skip meals. Avoid missing a meal to control your calorie intake. This leads to consuming more calories to satisfy your hunger.

Eat small meals. Try eating smaller meals throughout the day, to avoid gorging and overeating in a single meal. Make sure to include foods from the recommended food groups.

Don’t overeat. Practice portion control. The amount of food you eat is important to controlling your weight.

Cardio, cardio, cardio. If your goal is losing or maintaining your weight, make cardio your new BFF (Best Fitness Friend). Cardio workouts are best for burning calories and body fat.

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