[u]Lose Dangerous Belly Fat[/u]
By: Brenda McHugh
While the term middle age spread may sound innocent, the reality of the fat that can collect around our mid-sections is actually quite dangerous.
Stomach, or visceral, fat plays a key role in a variety of health problems. Much more so than subcutaneous fat, which is the kind that tends to deposit itself on hips, thighs and buttocks.
The really worrisome fat is found in the abdomen and surrounding vital organs, said Dr. Kerry Stewart, professor of clinical exercise physiology at John Hopkins School of Medicine.
That is because the belly bulge is deeper than meets the eye. It also clings to our internal system and has been linked to numerous conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and breast and colon cancers.
According to Dr. Stewart, even a person considered to be slender with just a mere spare tire, may carry a greater health risk than someone who is obese.
In fact, long running [b]research conducted by the Wake Forest University in North Carolina found that even among normal weight people, those with higher waist to hip ratios had just as much difficulty completing household chores as their overweight counterparts.
Additionally, older people with big bellies had worse memory and less verbal fluency (even after taking diabetes into account) than those who were fit[/b], according to a 10-year study of Chinese adults published in the Society for Neuroscience.
The molecules it (visceral fat) secretes rapidly enhance the development of disease, stated endocrinologist Barbara Kahn, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard teaching hospital.
The good news is that there is a lot we can do to tone down our tubby tummies.
- Can the Trans Fat
Trans fat is a man made fat found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, cookies and snack foods. It is often listed in the ingredients as partially hydrogenated oil.
It has come under attack recently by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Still, there is plenty of this artery-clogging agent to be found on your supermarket shelf. And it tends to sink straight to your stomach.
Wake Forest University conducted a six year study of male monkeys that were fed a western style diet containing trans fats versus a second group fed only mono-unsaturated fat (such as olive oil). The caloric count and fat content was identical. However, the primates munching on the trans fat gained 7.2 percent body weight with a significant increase in visceral fat.
We were shocked, said Kylie Kavanagh, who delivered the report to the American Diabetes Association. Despite all our enormous efforts to make sure they didnt gain weight, they still did. And most of that weight ended up on their tummies. This is walking them straight down the path to diabetes.
- Shake That Belly
Exercise is your second line of defense against turning your belly into a beach ball.
Regular, moderate-intensity physical exercise has been proven to decrease abdominal puffiness relatively quickly.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that non-exercisers experienced a nine percent increase in visceral fat after six months of being sedentary. More active subjects, who walked the equivalent of 12 miles a week, experienced no weight gain. And those who covered 20 miles every seven days lost both visceral and subcutaneous fat.
- Monitor Sleep and Stress
Studies have shown that those who sleep less than four hours a night are 70 percent more likely to be overweight than people who get seven to nine hours of slumber. Sleep deprivation lowers leptin, a protein that helps to suppress appetite. It also inhibits the production of insulin, which regulates blood sugar.
If you are burning the midnight oil, you may be interfering with your bodys ability to burn off extra calories.
Likewise, stress may be adding unwanted inches to your waistline. Anxiety releases a hormonal cocktail of adrenaline, cortisol and insulin which has been associated with increased appetite and fat production, generally deposited at the waistline.
And that apple-shaped body may become a health problem.
Its not so much how much fat one has. Its really how the fat is distributed, said Gerald Shulman, professor of internal medicine at Yale University School of Medicine.