Tag Archives: belly fat

Visceral Fat: Why It’s Different and How to Get Rid of it

By James O’Brien

The human body has two kinds abdominal fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the stuff that you can pinch and move with your hands; visceral is the kind that can make the belly bulge, but feel hard to the touch (the notorious beer gut). Even if you don’t sport a beer belly, you might still have visceral fat that could be giving you health problems.

While being overweight is not an ideal state of health in general, it’s the visceral fat in particular that nutritionists and health experts cited at ScienceBlog.com connect most commonly with diabetes, glucose-related problems, hypertension, and heart disease.

Problem is, visceral fat doesn’t always stick out. Doctors have discovered thin-looking patients whose abdominal organs are packed with visceral fat. These people face the same kind of health risk as their more obviously beer-bellied counterparts.


Being Skinny Fat Can be Just as Dangerous as Obesity

By Jenilee Matz

We all know it’s risky for your health to be overweight. Does that mean you’re in the clear for dangerous medical problems if you’re thin? Not so, say experts.

The Skinny on Fat

Dr. Jimmy Bell, a professor of molecular imaging at Imperial College in London, says, “being thin doesn’t automatically mean you’re not fat.”

Doctors say internal fat that surrounds vital organs – such as the heart, liver and pancreas – may be just as risky to your health as visible body fat.

Experts aren’t quite sure why internal fat happens without the presence of external fat. They believe people accumulate fat around the stomach area first, but sometimes the body may store it in other places. The amount of internal fat you have also seems to increase with age.


The Myth of Targeting Your “Problem Area”

measuring tape around a stomachMost people have areas of their body they wish they could change. There are hundreds of workouts that promise to tone your tummy, trim your waist or tighten your butt. It’s certainly possible to build muscle in these areas, but an article from CNN points out that you may not be able to change the underlying shape of your body, even with significant weight loss.

“People come in with unrealistic expectations from magazines and spot-reducing,” says Gary Foster, director of Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education. “That doesn’t happen. When you start to lose fat, it’s proportionate throughout your body, whether it’s your neck, waist, ankle circumference. You’ll come out smaller but have the same body shape.”

In other words, a person who is pear-shaped will remain a pear, and a person who is apple-shape will remain an apple. “Basically, when we lose weight, we lose weight all over in exactly the proportion that’s distributed throughout our body,” says Susan Fried, director of the Boston Obesity and Nutrition Research Center at the Boston University School of Medicine. CT scans, dexa scans and MRIs reveal that as a person loses weight, fat is reduced evenly around the body.


Cortisol: the Stress Hormone’s Effect on Your Health and Weight Loss

Stress is simply a part of life. Stress can be a positive thing: It can save your life in a fight or flight situation, or it can be the kick in the butt you need to finally finish that project at work you’ve been putting off. Too much stress, however, can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. In today’s society, where we are moving faster, taking on more responsibility and are constantly technologically connected to the demands of work and home, our lives are becoming more overwhelming, and it may be taking a toll on our waistlines.

Cortisol, dubbed the “stress hormone”, is an important hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, responsible for many functions in the body including regulating metabolism and blood pressure, immune function, inflammatory response, and releasing insulin, which maintains blood sugar levels.

Cortisol isn’t only secreted when the body is under stress, but it is secreted in higher levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress (think of when something pops out and scares the crap out of you. That surge you get is your body’s fight or flight response- you either jump and run, or start swinging.) The stress we encounter on a daily basis isn’t always so obvious or sudden, but daily stress, i.e. a jam packed schedule the next day or not knowing how you are going to afford next month’s bills, isn’t immediately remedied, so your stress levels stay elevated for an extended period of time until the stressor is remedied, or more often than not, until another stressor comes along and takes over.

Just as with everything in life, too much of something is never a good thing. Elevated cortisol levels cause many physical, negative changes to the body, including impaired cognitive function, blood sugar imbalances, high blood pressure, and lower immunity, causing you to feel slow and drained of energy, or even come down with an illness.


Insider Weight Loss Secrets From a Personal Trainer

Fitness and weight loss is a science. Personal trainers, coaches, doctors and others in the health field know this, because we’ve studied it at length and have devoted our lives to it.

Unfortunately, most of what the general public knows about weight loss is what they hear on TV, read in magazines or glean from late night infomercials. The problem with that? Everyone is trying to sell you something. They don’t have your best interests at heart. Their goal is to confuse you into thinking they have the one, true answer, when, in fact, everyone knows the answer to weight loss: a healthy diet and consistent exercise.

There are a few insider tid bits that don’t make it to the general public very often, because it doesn’t help anyone sell machines or diet pills or meal plans. Sorry if any of these shatter your weight loss world as you know it, but knowledge is power, folks.


Flat Belly Diet Boasts a 91 Percent Weight Loss Success Rate [Win a Copy of the Book!]

The Flat Belly Diet has made waves across the weight loss community. Boasting a 91 percent success rate, Prevention’s Flat Belly Diet claims to help users lose weight all-around, but it also seems to target fat loss specifically in the belly. In general, spot reduction is considered a myth, but The American Diabetic Association conducted a study that just may prove the opposite. According to the ADA and Prevention Magazine, eating large amounts of fat may actually help you achieve a flat belly- monounsaturated fats, of course!

The Flat Belly Diet works by prescribing meals high in monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs. Foods that are naturally rich in MUFAs include fish, olive oil, avocado, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds, peanut butter and more. Another key component of the Flat Belly Diet is water consumption. Users are encouraged to drink Sassy Water which is enhanced with ginger.

Like most diet plans these days, this one offers an online weight loss system of peers and support for your journey. One downfall of the diet is that it blatantly de-emphasizes exercise. I have no doubt that there are people who lose weight without exercising but that’s really not the point. The benefits of working out are so numerous, and beside reaching a healthy weight, it’s important for your body to function at its highest potential which can only be achieved through an active lifestyle. The Flat Belly Diet looks like a fabulous system, but don’t neglect your overall fitness.


Ask Mary Answers Your Burning Questions About Belly Fat

Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.

Calorie Count members are more concerned with belly fat than with any other weight issue. Here are two of the readers’ favorite “Ask Mary Q+As” about weight around the middle.

Ask Mary: What is the quickest way to tone my midsection? (more…)

Belly Fat May Be Deadly

If a new study has any merit, you’re going to want to pay extra attention to your waistline.

The latest study on belly fat is considered to be one of the largest ever done. And what the researchers found was alarming: People with the biggest waistlines have twice the risk of dying over the next 10 years as compared to people with the smallest stomachs.

The most alarming part is that the concern has just as much to do with the location of the fat being in your belly as being overweight. That’s because a bigger waist carries a greater risk of death even if your weight is “normal” as dictated by the body mass index, or BMI, a standards of weight and height. (more…)

Stress Makes Us Fat

Bad eating habits isn’t the only thing that will make you fat. The stress of life will contribute significantly as well.stressed man

Studies of monkeys reveal an amazing parallel to human society. Carol A. Shively, PhD, and colleagues at Wake Forest University saw that those monkeys at the bottom of the pecking order in a monkey colony get blocked arteries much faster than the other monkeys. All of them in the study were fed the same high-fat diet.

The parallel to human society, of course, is that the poor are much more often heavier than the well-to-do. Being at the bottom rung of the social ladder has its stresses, human or animal. (more…)

Blueberries May Help Reduce Belly Fat

According to researchers at the University of Michigan, blueberries may help to fend off belly fat and reduce risk of diabetes. Blueberries high content of phytochemicals which are a kind of antioxidant are believed to play a significant role in whittling your middle.


Lab rats who were fed a blueberry-rich mixture had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol, and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity which are key measures of how well the body uses glucose for fuel, says researchers. Blueberries seem to affect the genes that are related to fat-burning and storage. (more…)