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September 11, 2018 • Weight Control

The Dangers of Belly Fat

It is now firmly established that not all body fat is created equal when it comes to making us sick.  Although we may not like the appearance of fat deposited on our arms, legs, hips, and thighs, this fat is a rather benign metabolic slug that basically just its sits there.  This is in sharp contrast to the fat deposited within the abdominal cavity, also known as visceral fat that gives rise to the “pot belly” appearance that has sadly become the national norm, especially for adult males and post-menopausal females.

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I call this fat the Tasmanian Devil Fat because we now recognize that it is highly active metabolically, secreting a huge array of nasty chemicals that can do the following:  promote inflammation, block arteries, cause blood clots, increase blood pressure, promote insulin resistance, promote cellular growth, raise bad blood fats (LDL cholesterol, triglycerides) and lower good (HDL) cholesterol.

Real-life translation: heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and accelerated aging.

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Strive to the follow these anti-belly fat strategies:

  1. Exercise as much and as often as possible. If you don’t accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week you are virtually guaranteed to accumulate belly fat.  (I can always tell who is active and who is not active enough by looking at their bellies!)
  2. Eat tons of non-starchy veggies and fruits.
  3. Enjoy beans daily.
  4. Avoid the Great White Hazards: white flour, white rice, white potatoes, and sugar.  These foods are belly fat magnets.  Substitute whole grains instead.
  5. Avoid trans fat and saturated fats. These are the Tasmanian Devil’s favorite foods.
  6. Include omega 3 fats in your diet regularly. These happy fats are the Taz’s bane.

For optimal health, maintain your waist size (measured at the level of the hips) in the following ranges:

  • males < 36 inches (panic zone 40 inches or >)
  • females < 32 inches (panic zone 35 inches or >)

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