Shut Your Mouth!
There is no word in the world that evokes such strong emotions as this three letter word that begins with “F”. Yes, you read me right, three letter word. The word is the dreaded adjective that almost everyone fears and holds in disdain, FAT. However, there are different types of fat in our bodies and visceral fat is a killer.
I grew up with a boy named Jeremy who was a delightful child. He was my crush in the third grade. As Jeremy grew up, he turned into quite the handsome man. He married a woman who became morbidly obese and Jeremy gained slowly, right along with her. While she gained much more than he did, he finally became obese enough that his doctors told him that his fat was crushing his internal organs. He was muscular and he had so much visceral fat that, as he gained weight, this stealthy fat that wraps around your internal organs, was slowly exerting more and more force inside his body. Jeremy had a gastric bypass to lose weight, and did lose weight, but as is the case in many weight loss surgeries, he gained it all back. Jeremy died in his 50’s from complications of the visceral fat that had literally squeezed the life out of him. Visceral fat also contributes to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even dementia. Visceral fat contributes to belly fat and leptin, a hormone which plays a part in learning and memory, is produced by belly fat so there is a possible link to dementia from visceral and belly fat. Since I work with dementia patients, this is not a risk that I want to take.
Big Belly Is Spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E
Belly fat is both visceral and subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is found just under the skin. It’s the fat that is measured with a caliper or that you pinch up to see how fat you are. While subcutaneous fat on the thighs and butt is not considered dangerous, when this fat deposits on the belly it contributes to all of the problems associated with belly fat such as insulin resistance, diabetes, poor blood lipid profiles and also increasing risks for both stroke and heart attack. A “beer belly” is a warning sign that you need to take control of your appetite. A protruding belly and large waist are signs that you may have excess visceral fat. A woman should have a waist measurement of less than 35 inches and a man should keep his waistline at less than 40 inches. A bigger measurement indicates that you are at increased disease risk because visceral fat is associated with an increase in inflammation in the body which is associated with chronic disease including heart disease, insulin resistance and diabetes among many other deadly diseases, including cancer.
What To Do?
Low carb diets like we promote at David’s Way are more effective at reducing visceral fat than low-fat diets. Regular aerobic exercise is also effective in reducing this deadly tissue. All heavy weight lifters know that heavy weights produce aerobic exercise. If my heart beat any harder or my breathing got any heavier during exercise, I don’t believe that I would remain conscious. Choose your aerobic activity and burn, Baby, burn. Soluble fiber such as the fiber found in flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, legumes and grains also contribute to visceral fat loss. Soluble fiber supplements are also available. Increasing your soluble fiber intake to 10 grams per day may help you shed visceral fat by helping suppress your appetite and contributing to healthy gut bacteria which produce short-chain fatty acids. Fatty acids help increase satiety so you may eat less. We also promote a high protein diet which has been found to fend off hunger by increasing the levels of the hormones that make you feel full. Protein can also boost your metabolism and studies show that people who eat more protein have less visceral fat. Limiting your sugar intake will help you to lose this deadly fat. We advocate eating absolutely no added sugars. In one study where the simple sugar, fructose, was replaced by starch in 41 children’s diet, visceral fat was reduced by 10.6% in only 10 days. (1) Limit your alcohol intake. The empty calories will pack on the pounds and increase your visceral fat stores. Trans fats which are found in some processed foods are also linked to increased visceral fat. If you eat processed foods, read labels carefully to avoid them. Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep increases visceral fat by causing an increase in cortisol production. Excess cortisol will always increase your belly fat. Increased stress also cause an increase in cortisol production so find a way to create a calm life. As we always say at David’s Way, “Keep your world small.” Cut excess drama and strife and reap the benefits in your waistline. Probiotics may help reduce visceral fat by increasing good bacteria in your gut that is associated with a reduction in abdominal fat. We also promote intermittent fasting with your doctor’s approval. Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce visceral fat by 4-7% over a 6-24 week period. (2) Intermittent fasting is simply the way that people ate before we had access to 24 hour food. You eat all of your food in a 8, 10 or 12 hour window and then you just don’t eat again for the remainder of that 24 hour period. It’s not new but it is effective.
White fat is the type of fat that we tend to put on when we gain excess weight. White fat inhibits the production of the good hormone, adiponectin, which makes our liver and muscles sensitive to insulin. This sensitivity makes us less likely to develop diabetes and heart disease. When the scale goes down, we are losing white fat.
Mystery Morphing Fat
We have small stores of brown fat which is being researched extensively to understand it’s function in our bodies. Lean people tend to have more brown fat than others and children have more than adults. When brown fat is activated, it burns white fat. This area of research may lead to medical interventions to help with obesity.
As you see here, David’s Way of eating is exactly what helps reduce visceral fat. This is a free website. Go to our Home Page and read about how to get started on your healthy journey. What have you got to lose? Always have your doctor’s permission before starting any weight loss program.