Weight loss tools, including a clear glass scale and a tape measureThere are pills and exercises on the market today that claim to erase belly fat effortlessly. However, changes in a person’s lifestyle are a more direct and more effective approach to eliminating the problem. Excessive belly fat increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are 5 of the most common causes of belly fat.

1. Drinking Too Much Alcohol

“Beer belly” is the common term for excess fat that has accumulated due to drinking a lot of alcohol on a regular basis. Beer isn’t the only culprit, though. Contrary to the specific term, drinking an excessive amount of any alcoholic beverage can cause beer belly. (Except wine, according to research.) Alcohol contains nothing but empty calories that are stored in the stomach area.

2. Eating Too Many Bad Carbohydrates

There are good carbs and there are bad carbs. Eating unrefined carbs like fruit, legumes, vegetables and whole grains is good for you, and helps in weight control. Eating biscuits, cakes, donuts, white bread and other refined carbs does the opposite. Eat too many of these carbs and a person’s insulin level will rise. Their metabolism will slow down, and the excess sugar the body can’t use will be stored as belly fat.

3. Stress Overload

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