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Reducing the abdominal fat efficiently - your pathway to six-pack abs

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Avatar for Heruvim78
Written by   47
1 year ago

Some time ago we might have accepted a beer belly as an inevitable fact of aging. But we’ve now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal, or visceral, fat is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems — much more so than subcutaneous fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs.

Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

We know that where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones. We cannot argue with heredity, but we have many ways to influence our hormone production. The good news is that visceral fat yields fairly easily to exercise and diet, with benefits ranging from lower blood pressure to more favorable cholesterol levels. Subcutaneous fat located at the waist — the pinch-able stuff — can be frustratingly difficult to budge, but in normal-weight people, it’s generally not considered as much of a health threat as visceral fat is. Also we are learning learning that visceral fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines — for example, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 — that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These and other biochemicals are thought to have deleterious effects on cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

 

So what can we do about tubby tummies? A lot, it turns out. The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity — at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight. Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat. (This happen because decrease in muscle mass, change in hormone levels and decreased caloric need of internal organs are the three main physiological factors that slow down a person's metabolism. And one of the main reason for the increase in body fat is a decrease in metabolism.Increasing muscle mass is one of the most controllable factor, as decrease in calorie needs of internal organs occurs because they are functioning more efficiently, and tampering with the hormones is a bit more complicated.) Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.

I found very useful the freeletics trainings which are proven to get excellent results in decreasing the visceral fat.

Diet is also important. Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. (A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a calorie-controlled diet rich in whole grains trimmed extra fat from the waistline of obese subjects. Study participants who ate all whole grains (in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables, three servings of low-fat dairy, and two servings of lean meat, fish or poultry) lost more weight from the abdominal area than another group that ate the same diet, but with all refined grains.

Eating refined foods such as white bread and sugary foods triggers a series of events. A rapid rise in blood sugar level is followed by an increased insulin response which can cause fat to be deposited more readily. However, eating a diet rich in whole grains (which also tend to be higher in fibre) helps improve insulin sensitivity. This, in turn helps the body more efficiently use blood glucose, controls blood glucose levels and reduces fat deposition.) Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help. (Polyunsaturated fats are lipids in which the constituent hydrocarbon chain possesses two or more carbon–carbon double bonds. Polyunsaturated fat can be found mostly in nuts, seeds, fish, algae, leafy greens, and krill. "Unsaturated" refers to the fact that the molecules contain less than the maximum amount of hydrogen.)

Scientists hope to develop drug treatments that target abdominal fat. For example, studies of the weight-loss medication sibutramine (Meridia), have shown that the drug’s greatest effects are on visceral fat. Rimonabant (Acomplia) — not yet FDA-approved — is the first of a new class of drugs that block a receptor in the brain that increases appetite. Acomplia has been shown to modestly reduce the accumulation of fat at the waist.

 

But for now, experts stress that lifestyle, especially exercise, is the very best way to fight visceral fat. Best strategy prove to be a combination of cardiovascular and weight training of minimum 30 minutes daily (up to 60 minutes), adding a diet in which we have an increase of complex carbohydrates/decrease of simple carbohydrates and an increase of polyunsaturated fats/decrease of trans and saturated fats. 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography:

Harvard Medical School - Abdominal fat and what to do about it

Grete R. Hornstrom - Why Do We Gain Belly Fat As We Age?

Clint Witchalls - The truth about belly fat

American Heart Association - Polyunsaturated fat - definition

 

P.S. In one of my next blog posts i will show you how to calculate your daily calories needed for a healthy lifestyle.

 Yours truly, 

George

 

P.S. If you are Romanian, you can also publish your post link in the Publish0x Romanian Community Facebook group for others to read it. 

 

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Disclaimer: This text is also re-published on my personal blogs, such as this one.

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Comments

Very nice article. 👍

It is pretty easy to see how much subcutaneous fat a person has. Is there a way to measure visceral fat?

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1 year ago

Yes, there is very easy, you are right. But the white fat, the one around organs, is more difficult to measure, you need quite advanced technology for that, 3d MRI

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1 year ago