Many thanks to my friends Michelle Davidson and Joel Nichols for welcoming me every other Thursday morning to discuss what we can do each day to be proactive, healthy, and happy! I am so grateful for the opportunity to share!
This week we talked about the hazards of visceral belly fat and what you can do to prevent it!
Belly fat- it’s not only unattractive, it’s hazardous to your health!
Fat around the midsection is associated with greater risk for diabetes lipid disorders and cardiovascular disease. That’s because this belly fat may not be just under the skin but fat accumulated inside the abdominal cavity around our organs. This is called visceral fat.
Men with a waist circumference greater than 40 and women with a waist greater than 35 may be at greater risk. So what can you do to avoid the health risks associated with too much fat around your middle?
Five ways to reduce visceral fat
1. Get rid of the sugar especially in sugary drinks like pop and fruit juice.
Liquid calories add up and since there is so much fructose in these drinks. Studies connect excess sugar to belly fat. And sugary drinks are high not only on High in glucose but in fructose. When the body is flooded with excess fructose it increases the demand on the liver. The liver in turn turns excess sugar into stored fat everywhere in your body including visceral fat. So avoid these drinks like the plague and read labels on all processed foods to avoid sugar.
2. Eat more protein and be selective about your carbs.
Protein is the most important macro nutrient for losing weight. Studies show It helps reduce cravings, boost metabolism, eat fewer total calories and help you maintain lean body mass.
One study showed that the amount of protein one consumed was inversely related to belly fat That is the more one ate protein, the less belly fat they carried. This study also showed that the more refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils consumed the higher the belly fat. By eating more unprocessed proteins, healthy fats vegetables and fruit, you can reduce your visceral fat.
Just avoiding refined carbohydrates should be enough to make a difference if you keep your protein high. Studies show by eating 25 to 30% of your daily calories from protein help reduce risk for belly fat.
3. Eat more fiber especially viscous (or soluable) fiber.
Dietary fiber is indigestible plant matter. It has been shown to help with weight loss but not all fibers are created equal. Viscous fiber are fibers that bind with water and form a thick gel that sits in the gut. This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your stomach and bowel slowing down digestion and nutrient absorption. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and less hunger.
Studies suggest that most folks are not getting enough fiber of any kind each day. Men need to consume 38 grams of fiber per day and women 25 grams of fiber. Of that, we should make a min of 10% of that fiber viscous fiber. Sources of vicious fiber include beans oat bran, nuts and fruits and vegetables.
4. Get Moving- Not all exercise is the same.
Spot reducing i.e. crunches will not reduce belly fat. One study showed that 6 weeks of training just abdominal muscles had no measurable effect on waist circumference or visceral fat. You need to get moving to burn fat. That might include cardiovascular exercises like walking or biking or running but it also includes HIIT (high intensity interval training) which combines intervals of high intensity cardio and strength training intervals. For maximal results this is the best type of exercise to do.
5. Keep it real by keeping accountable.
If you want to make implement real change, you will need to track your progress and keep an accurate count of your dietary intake and exercise. Research shows that people who keep a food journal lose up to 50% more weight than those who do not.
This doesn’t have to be for ever but it is a good idea to do it when making changes. You may need to measure and weigh your food, read labels and track your macro nutrient ratio for awhile thought simply to educate yourself about your favorite foods and the real impact your choices are having on your waist line and your health.
And now it’s never been more convenient to keep track with a myriad of online resources and apps. (You can still do it the old fashioned way with pen and paper, too).