Diet And Weight Management -The Facts About Belly Fat
Abdominal fat: not just fat deep in the skin
One fact you should know about stomach fat. It’s not just that soft layer under your skin – the kind of thing you grab to see if you can “squeeze an inch.” Visceral fat is the name for the kind of fat that sits deep in your torso. It coats your intestines, liver, and stomach. It can also line your arteries. It can be dangerous for your health. But you don’t need a special diet or exercise to lose it – just healthy habits.
What are the health risks?
It’s more than just a number on a scale. Researchers believe that more than your weight or BMI (body mass index), the amount of deep fat in your middle is a better measure of whether you’re at risk for serious health problems. Not only can belly fat make your jeans too tight, too much fat may mean you’re more likely to get…
Fatty Liver Disease
What Waist Measurement Means
You can’t tell how much visceral fat you have just by measuring your waist circumference. That’s because the fat near the surface of your skin (called subcutaneous fat) is also part of your circumference. But your measuring tape can give you a hint if you may end up with a health problem related to abdominal fat. For women, a waist measurement of more than 35 inches triggers danger signals. For men, it’s 40 inches.
That’s the first fat to go.
A happy fact: visceral fat is one of the first things you lose. And to do that, you need to get moving. Your workouts don’t have to be complicated. You can walk briskly for an hour a day. On the treadmill, you can set the incline higher to boost your metabolism. If you sit a lot, find a way to get moving. Set a timer on your phone to remind you to get up every half hour or so. Or try a standing desk and do squats while you work.
Do you talk with your hands? Tapping your feet to music? Do people find you a little aroused? This is all good. Being sedentary may not be “exercise”; it doesn’t build muscle or endurance. But it counts as an activity, and it burns calories. So the next time someone says you’re restless, you can say you’re burning belly fat.
Apple cider vinegar doesn’t help.
Apple cider vinegar has many clever uses. Reducing belly fat may not be one of them, despite what fad diets may say. This aromatic liquid comes from apples that are mashed, distilled, and then fermented. Some believe that the acetic acid it contains may be health-promoting in some way. Studies on animals have shown a glimmer of hope that it may help burn visceral fat. But there’s no scientific evidence that it has the same effect on humans.
Don’t Blame the Beer
Beer is often referred to as a fat belly – hence the term “beer belly.” Research suggests it’s a little more complicated than that, though. The frothy stuff has a lot of calories. So it may make you fat. But it doesn’t necessarily allow fat to settle in your middle. A more likely culprit? Soda and other sweetened beverages. Some studies have shown that sugar can promote belly fat.
Swap soda for green tea.
To trim belly fat, you need to be careful with your diet – eat reasonable portion sizes, more vegetables, and less junk food. And instead of drinking soda, consider drinking green tea. Some studies suggest that catechins, the antioxidants found in green tea, may help burn visceral fat (a little). The results are far from certain. But one thing is clear: You can save calories by replacing sugary drinks with tea. Just don’t load it up with honey or sugar.
Facts about Fish Oil
Fish oil has long been recognized as a heart-healthy supplement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a drug made from fish oil to help control triglycerides, a type of fat found in the bloodstream. But for breaking up belly fat? Not so much. A study of overweight men who took fish oil supplements found no change in their abdominal fat.
Abdominal Fat and Your Bones
For a long time, doctors thought that extra weight would help keep your bones strong and protect you from fractures. But research shows that this isn’t necessarily true, at least when it comes to visceral fat. One study found that men who had more abdominal fat had weaker bones. Another study looked at women who hadn’t yet entered menopause. The study found that people with more abdominal fat had lower bone density, a warning sign of osteoporosis.