Tag Archives: Belly Fat

The Skinny on Belly Fat

Skinny_BellyFatJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

Don’t be surprised if, at your next check up, your doctor checks not only your weight but also measures the circumference of your waist. Abdominal obesity, often termed a “beer belly” or “middle aged spread,” is now considered far more dangerous to your health than being overweight or having a BMI in the obese range. Even more telling, if your weight is in the normal, healthy range but you have extra weight around your middle, you may have twice the mortality risk of those who are overweight or obese. According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people with “normal-weight central obesity have the worst long-term survival rates.” While a pot belly or muffin top may be obvious, even normal weight people who look skinny on the outside, may still be fat on the inside and may have a higher percentage of body fat relative to muscle.

Visceral fat that accumulates underneath the abdominal muscles and surrounds your organs may be invisible, but it is more dangerous to your long term health than the highly visible subcutaneous belly fat that lies above the abdominal muscles. Studies show that metabolically active, hormone producing visceral fat is linked to increased low-level inflammation, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and a higher risk of early death. Simply put, neglecting the consequences of being out of shape and carrying fat around your waist even though you are normal weight is more than a little hazardous to your health.

Studies show that about one-fourth of adults with normal weight have risk factors for an unhealthy heart, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. With normal-weight obesity, genetics is a factor, but medical issues may largely be the consequence of a high sugar, junk food diet which results in visceral fat storage. Unfortunately, although a person may not be visibly overweight or have a lot of fat stored overall, their organs can be coated with visceral fat, the most dangerous kind. So, while many are dieting to lose weight, we need to remember the importance of fitness. It’s not enough to simply be of normal weight if you are not also physically fit. It appears it may be better to be overweight but fit, than to be thin but out of shape.

How do you know if you are a skinny fat person? Besides the obvious pinch test, high blood glucose levels, high triglycerides, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all indicators that your health is less than ideal. But here’s the good news, unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is relatively easy to lose. A combination of proper diet, reduced portion sizes, 30 minutes of daily exercise and good sleep habits can help to reverse a high waist-to-hip ratio. Add in resistance or weight training several times per week and muscle mass will improve. Increased lean muscle mass may have a positive, protective effect on heart health and diabetes prevention. Stress reduction can also help, as studies show that those with chronic stress have a disproportionate amount of belly fat.

Mark Hyman, MD., author of the book The Blood Sugar Solution, suggests that the answer for someone with central obesity who wishes to regain their health is relatively the same as it is for those with obesity and diabetes:

  • Stick to low-glycemic load foods
  • Eat protein at every meal
  • Avoid liquid calories including sodas and juices
  • Make your diet largely plant based
  • Be sure to include omega-3 rich foods
  • Avoid all wheat products
  • Participate in both cardio and strength training
  • Get regular sufficient sleep
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Reduce caffeine
  • Supplement with multivitamins, good quality fish oil and vitamin D

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements and nutraceuticals to support a healthy lifestyle:

PGX DailyPGX® Daily by Bioclinic Naturals – This proprietary blend provides a combination of 3 highly viscous, water soluble fibers that support healthy glucose and cholesterol levels already within the normal range. PGX® helps to normalize blood sugar levelsand improve regularity and supports reduced appetite and healthy weight loss. Gluten, dairy and yeast free formulation.

 

Cinnamon with Chromium PicolinateCinnamon with Chromium Picolinate by PhysioLogics – This high quality formula contains a synergistic blend of cinnamon and chromium picolinate to help support sugar, fat and nutrient metabolism. Gluten, dairy and yeast free formulation.

 

D3 LiquidD3 Liquid by Metagenics – This easily dosed liquid formula provides 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol per drop in support of cardiovascular, immune and neurological health. Ideal for children and those who prefer a liquid formula. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO formula.

 

Peak EPA

Peak EPA by Wiley’s Finest Alaskan Fish Oil – One softgel provides 1000 mg of pure, concentrated EPA and DHA essential fatty acids in support of a healthy inflammatory response and overall wellness.   Sustainably sourced by American fishermen. Gluten, dairy and soy free formulation.

 

References:
Normal-Weight Central Obesity: Implications for Total and Cardiovascular Mortality. http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2468805&resultClick=3
Abdominal fat and what to do about it. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it
Your beer belly may kill you. www.cnn.com/2015/11/11/health/beer-belly-fat-may-kill-you/index.html
The Hidden Dangers of ‘Skinny Fat.’ http://time.com/14407/the-hidden-dangers-of-skinny-fat/
Are You a Skinny Fat Person? 10 Steps to Cure the Skinny Fat Syndrome. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/skinny-fat_b_1799797.html

The Health Risks of Belly Fat

BellyFat1JacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks
BSN, RN
 

Studies show that people who have excess belly fat have a higher risk of developing chronic disease even when they are not overweight.  Sounds like a contradiction, but where we store our body fat can put us at three times greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and can double the risk of early death from other causes, as compared to those with a normal waist to hip ratio.  Abdominal or visceral fat is a key player in many health concerns.  Visceral fat is not the same fat that can be grasped with your hand; it lies deep within the abdominal cavity and fills the spaces surrounding our internal organs.  Subcutaneous fat, which you can pinch, lies just underneath the skin.  Women tend to have more subcutaneous fat than men, generally on their hips and thighs.  However, as women age and go through menopause, they are more likely to develop larger waistlines and store more visceral fat, as their estrogen levels naturally decline.

What are the health dangers associated with visceral fat?   Research suggests that abdominal fat cells are metabolically and biologically active and actually function like an endocrine gland, releasing hunger hormones, such as leptin, and influencing insulin response.  Visceral fat appears to disrupt the normal functioning of these hormones, which typically aid health by regulating hunger and insulin, burning stored fat and protecting against diabetes.  The excess release of these and other chemicals, including some that are released by the immune system, can promote insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease.  Visceral fat surrounds critical organs such as the liver and is linked to unhealthy cholesterol levels, fatty liver disease and low-grade inflammation. 

The good news is that visceral fat responds well to a healthy diet and exercise.  Visceral fat metabolizes fairly easily into fatty acids, which can then be used for cellular energy production.  As the belly shrinks and fat is reduced, the associated health risks, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are also reduced.  Waist measurement is a good indicator of visceral fat.  For an average sized woman, waist measurement should not exceed 35″.  For an average sized man, a waist measurement above 40″ is cause for concern.  If you are trying to lose weight and belly fat and are not seeing results, changes to your routine can help. 

  • Include the appropriate fat burning exercise in your exercise routine.  Cardio workouts for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week are critical to weight loss.  To get full exercise benefits for belly fat loss, you must also to weight train several days a week.  Weight training  helps to burn fat by increasing muscle mass, which takes more energy to maintain and revs your metabolism to increase calorie burn throughout the day. 
  • Skip the processed foods, which increase inflammation and hinder the ability to lose belly fat.  Eat whole foods like vegetables and fruits that naturally contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Be sure to eat healthy fats.  Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy dietary fat does not make you gain weight.  Healthy fats found in olive oil, fatty fish, avocados and nuts help to prevent belly fat.   Fats provide energy, protect our organs and help process nutrients.  Healthy fats help to lower the risks of chronic disease by lowering LDL and raising HDL cholesterol levels, boost brain function and keep skin and eyes healthy. 
  • Take a break from stress.  High stress levels mean higher levels of cortisol, which has been linked to higher levels of visceral fat.  Chronic stress may not only cause overconsumption of unhealthy calories, but may also make it harder to lose weight. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.  Studies show that sleeping too much (more than 8 hours), or too little (less than 5 hours), can result in increased visceral fat.  Aim for about 7 hours each night and keep it consistent. 
  • Even though some people are genetically disposed to gaining weight around the middle, a combination approach to weight loss that includes weight training and cardiovascular exercise, a lower carb, higher fat diet and reduced sugar consumption will help you to overcome obstacles and lose visceral fat. 
  • Eat fewer calories but eat better calories.  Calorie reduction should not be radical, as too few calories can put your body in starvation mode and slow your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight.  To recap, eat lots of vegetables, lean protein, moderate amounts of fruit and include some healthy fats.  Limit processed foods, sugary drinks and trans-fats.   

Products to aid in weight reduction include: 

VFM-100™
 
VFM-100™ by Complementary Prescriptions aids in suppressing the formation of visceral fat and has been shown to reduce body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle program. 
 
 
CLA
 
CLA by Ortho Molecular contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid obtained from safflower seed oil that naturally supports reducing body fat while increasing muscle tone when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. 
 
 
7-KETO Lean
 
7-Keto Lean by Integrative Therapeutics has been clinically shown to burn fat and promote weight loss when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise program. 
 
 
 
Super HCA (98028)
 
Super HCA (98028) by Douglas Laboratories supplies 1400 mg of Garcinia cambogia extract that may aid in normal appetite regulation and may be useful for weight management by preventing the conversion of excess glucose from dietary carbs into stored body fat.