Archive for the ‘Belly Fat’ Category

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Belly Fat Raises Risks From Heart Disease and Alzheimer’s Dementia

August 10, 2011
Belly Fat Dramatically Increases Heart Disease and Alzheimer's Disease Risks

Belly Fat Dramatically Increases Heart Disease and Alzheimer's Disease Risks

Researchers from the American Academy of Neurology publishing in the journal Neurology have released the result of a study showing that being overweight or obese in midlife significantly increases the risk of developing certain forms of dementia, including Alzheimer`s disease as we age. Worldwide this places 1.6 billion people at risk, including more than half of the US adult population.

Similar research reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that even small increases in body weight during midlife significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Both studies conclude you can dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and many forms of dementia by controlling excess weight and participating in regular exercise.

Overweight and Obese Linked to 80% Higher Risk of Dementia

Body Weight in Mid-Age Linked With Higher Rates of Dementia and Cognitive Decline

Body Weight in Mid-Age Linked With Higher Rates of Dementia and Cognitive Decline

Researchers examined more than 8,500 twins listed in the Swedish Twins Registry and monitored participants height and body weight over a period of 30 years. The twins were placed into groups based on their BMI (Body Mass Index) recorded during midlife. This information was compared with a diagnosis of dementia after reaching the age of 65.

The study determined that participants classified as overweight (BMI range of 25 to 30) and obese (BMI above 30) at midlife had an 80% increased risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer`s disease or vascular dementia (typically caused by mini strokes) compared to those with normal BMI. The researchers found that the study results confirm the growing body of evidence that controlling or reducing body weight in midlife can significantly reduce risk of dementia. The study author, Dr. Weili Xu concluded “This suggests that early life environmental factors and genetic factors may contribute to the link between midlife overweight and dementia.”

Excess Abdominal Fat Increases Risk of Developing Heart Disease by 50%

Excess Body Weight Can Double Risks From Heart Disease

Excess Body Weight Can Double Risks From Heart Disease

Modest weight gain in midlife is shown to play a critical role in developing cardiovascular disease. Scientists from the Mayo Clinic demonstrated that body fat accumulating around the abdomen increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack, even when BMI is in the normal range. Reviewing the results of five studies examining nearly 16,000 individuals with coronary artery disease, researchers found that those with fat stores around the middle were twice as likely to suffer a fatal cardiovascular event, compared with fat found in other body regions.

Researchers found that visceral fat is metabolically active and causes a storm of chemical messengers that fan the flames of systemic inflammation. White abdominal fat stores promote detrimental changes in healthy lipid ratios, blood pressure and blood sugar. Fat stored in other areas of the body such as the legs and buttocks don`t show a significant increase in risk from heart disease.

Extensive research has concluded the negative health consequences of excess body weight. Increased risk of dementia and heart disease can be added to the list of diseases including diabetes, stroke, kidney disease and respiratory conditions. In addition to controlling weight in early and midlife, it is important to limit calories from sugar (including high fructose corn syrup) and wheat food items to discourage fat accumulation around the midsection.

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Diet and Exercise Promote Weight Loss

October 7, 2010

(Article first published as Using Diet and Exercise to Control Body Fat on Technorati.)

The food we eat provides the building blocks required for cellular construction as well as all metabolic and chemical reactions which our body performs to function in good health. In the same fashion, our diet and level of physical activity directly influence our hormones that determine if fat is stored or burned as fuel. Medical researchers now understand that where fat is stored in the body can determine risk of disease and how we can alter our diet to promote natural weight loss.

Fat Placement is a Risk Factor

Until recently, medical science has viewed our white fat cells as nothing more than an inert storage facility for extra calories. Research has debunked that theory by demonstrating that our fat is a viable organ within our body which is metabolically active, secreting and reacting to chemical messengers which influence our health and weight loss abilities.

The results of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that the risk of metabolic disorder is heightened when fat is stored in the abdomen and significantly lowered when fat grows on the thighs or lower parts of the body. Interestingly the study authors found that abdominal fat grows by increasing the size of existing fat cells whereas fat cells multiply in number on the thighs and lower body. Abdominal fat is more dangerous to your health because the cells are stretched beyond their normal capacity, leading to metabolic dysfunction.

Using Food Balance to Control Fat Placement

Fortunately we can control where fat is placed on the body in several ways. The food we eat has a significant impact on fat storage and metabolism as we can choose both the quantity of food eaten as well as the nutritional composition of our diet. A diet high in refined carbohydrates which quickly break down into glucose and raise blood sugar causes excessive triglycerides in the blood. These blood fats must be cleared quickly after each meal and are converted to fat for storage on the belly.

Include Protein and Fat with Each Meal

The first step to controlling how and where fat is stored is to cut back or eliminate carbohydrate foods which trigger a rapid rise in blood sugar. All processed carbohydrates and sugar laden foods will initiate the cycle which results in abdominal fat storage. Substitute protein and fats from healthy nuts, seeds and minimally cooked meats. These foods don’t convert to glucose quickly and are much less likely to spike blood sugar and convert to fat.

Exercise Helps to Burn Fat as Fuel

Exercise is essential to good health, as it provides a catalyst to burn excess calories so they aren’t available to be stored as fat. When you exercise regularly, the body is conditioned to burn calories for fuel so they don’t end up as a source of body fat. Some amount of fat is essential to our health, and exercise encourages the formation of brown fat which is dissimilar to white belly fat because it promotes fat metabolism through a process known as thermogenesis.

The type of foods we eat provide metabolic cues to instruct our body how and where to store body fat. Eliminating junk carbohydrates and replacing them with lean protein and monounsaturated fat sources will blunt blood sugar swings and encourage fat metabolism. Exercise is necessary to provide the catalyst for caloric utilization which encourages ideal health and natural weight loss success.

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Eat 3 Meals a Day to Fuel Weight Loss

September 30, 2010

(Article first published as 3 High Protein Meals a Day Can Fuel Weight Loss on Technorati.)

Our body is acutely sensitive to the frequency, quantity and type of foods we eat at each meal. As our body races to digest and breakdown the different fats, proteins and carbohydrates to filter all essential vitamins and minerals we need to live, metabolic activity surges based on the exact composition of the meal. When we overeat, or eat too frequently our body never has the chance to return to an optimal metabolic state, blood sugar remains high and the stage is set for weight gain and disease.

Eating Three Meals a Day to Encourage Weight Loss
It’s not difficult to understand that eating too many calories will lead to excess weight, but many people don’t realize that eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day will cause blood sugar to remain elevated and lead to metabolic dysfunction. This can open the door to diabetes and heart disease and encourages elevated triglycerides that translate to belly fat.
The results of a study conducted at Purdue University and published in the journal Obesity confirm that overweight and obese men placed on a low calorie, higher protein diet felt satisfied and less hungry when they ate three times a day compared to when they ate six smaller meals. There is as a popular misconception that eating many smaller meals each day is beneficial to health and weight loss goals, but this study provides evidence to the contrary.
Properly Balanced Nutrition Leads to Weight Loss

This type of study underscores the importance of eating a well balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and leafy greens as the primary carbohydrate source. Carbohydrates from vegetables are closely bound with fiber and don’t cause a blood sugar surge when they’re released as glucose in the blood. This keeps blood sugar levels constant, reducing the risk of metabolic disorder while encouraging fat to be released instead of stored.

Protein is an important food source when trying to lose weight. Protein from lean meat, nuts and seeds requires more time and energy to digest which means you remain satisfied longer while using more energy for assimilation. This is the reason the study participants were able to lose more weight by eating half as many meals each day. Sugar and refined carbohydrates were restricted which helped to control the desire to eat between meals.
Meal Timing Boosts the Fat Burn Cycle

When eating with a weight loss goal in mind, it’s important to properly space meals to allow your metabolism and blood sugar to stabilize before eating again. Study participants eating three meals a day spaced meals five hours apart to allow blood sugar levels to normalize. Although this study didn’t specify when the last meal of the day was eaten, it’s important to finish eating for the day at least three hours before retiring for the night. This allows digestion to complete so the body can burn stored fat for fuel during the critical overnight hours.

The path to successful weight loss is much more than counting calories and exercising. While these are important parts of the program, it’s necessary to balance the type of foods on your menu with proper meal timing. Avoid between meal snacks and limit food to just three times a day with five hours between each meal, and stop eating after dinner to stimulate the natural release of fat. This will help to drive metabolism toward your healthy weight loss goal.
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Eat 3 Properly Balanced Meals a Day for Weight Loss

September 30, 2010

(Article first published as 3 High Protein Meals a Day Can Fuel Weight Loss on Technorati.)

Eat 3 Meals Each Day and Include a Lean Protein Source

Eat 3 Meals Each Day and Include a Lean Protein Source

Our body is acutely sensitive to the frequency, quantity and type of foods we eat at each meal. As our body races to digest and breakdown the different fats, proteins and carbohydrates to filter all essential vitamins and minerals we need to live, metabolic activity surges based on the exact composition of the meal. When we overeat, or eat too frequently our body never has the chance to return to an optimal metabolic state, blood sugar remains high and the stage is set for weight gain and disease.

Eating Three Meals a Day to Encourage Weight Loss

It’s not difficult to understand that eating too many calories will lead to excess weight, but many people don’t realize that eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day will cause blood sugar to remain elevated and lead to metabolic dysfunction. This can open the door to diabetes and heart disease and encourages elevated triglycerides that translate to belly fat.

The results of a study conducted at Purdue University and published in the journal Obesity confirm that overweight and obese men placed on a low calorie, higher protein diet felt satisfied and less hungry when they ate three times a day compared to when they ate six smaller meals. There is as a popular misconception that eating many smaller meals each day is beneficial to health and weight loss goals, but this study provides evidence to the contrary.

Properly Balanced Nutrition Leads to Weight Loss

Eat Plenty of Vegetables Which Don't Quickly Convert to Glucose

Eat Plenty of Vegetables Which Don't Quickly Convert to Glucose

This type of study underscores the importance of eating a well balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables and leafy greens as the primary carbohydrate source. Carbohydrates from vegetables are closely bound with fiber and don’t cause a blood sugar surge when they’re released as glucose in the blood. This keeps blood sugar levels constant, reducing the risk of metabolic disorder while encouraging fat to be released instead of stored.

Protein is an important food source when trying to lose weight. Protein from lean meat, nuts and seeds requires more time and energy to digest which means you remain satisfied longer while using more energy for assimilation. This is the reason the study participants were able to lose more weight by eating half as many meals each day. Sugar and refined carbohydrates were restricted which helped to control the desire to eat between meals.

Meal Timing Boosts the Fat Burn Cycle

Stop Eating 3 Hours Before Bedtime

Stop Eating 3 Hours Before Bedtime

When eating with a weight loss goal in mind, it’s important to properly space meals to allow your metabolism and blood sugar to stabilize before eating again. Study participants eating three meals a day spaced meals five hours apart to allow blood sugar levels to normalize. Although this study didn’t specify when the last meal of the day was eaten, it’s important to finish eating for the day at least three hours before retiring for the night. This allows digestion to complete so the body can burn stored fat for fuel during the critical overnight hours.

The path to successful weight loss is much more than counting calories and exercising. While these are important parts of the program, it’s necessary to balance the type of foods on your menu with proper meal timing. Avoid between meal snacks and limit food to just three times a day with five hours between each meal, and stop eating after dinner to stimulate the natural release of fat. This will help to drive metabolism toward your healthy weight loss goal.

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Tips to Permanent Weight Loss

September 6, 2010

(Article first published as Keep Lost Weight and Belly Fat Off for Good on Technorati.)

It’s been a lot of really hard work, but you’ve persevered and managed to lose weight and hit your target goal. You understand the importance of reducing belly fat to ward off heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, and want your hard work to be for life. And yet the urge to eat a sugary donut or super sized fry makes you wonder how you’re going to be able to keep the weight off permanently.
Only 1 in 6 Can Maintain Weight Loss

Starting a new diet and watching the scale drop each week is exciting, and provides the initial enticement to keep up with your weight loss program. Once you reach your goal, the excitement fades and pressure from friends, family and the constant barrage of junk food marketers is enough to make you stray from a healthy lifestyle.

You’re not alone, as research from the Penn State College of Medicine finds that only 1 in 6 people who have been overweight or obese are able to maintain their weight loss for more than a year. Sustainable weight loss can be a very complicated process. In addition to following a reduced calorie diet with regular physical activity, it’s important to control confounding factors such as stress, mood and lifestyle changes which can cause the pounds to reappear.
Attitude is Key to Permanent Weight Loss
When excess weight is lost too quickly, our innate survival mechanism takes control of our subconscious mind in an attempt to replace stored fat, considered key to perpetuating the species. While we have no control over generations of genetic predisposition to resist lost body fat, we do have the power of mind and attitude which can help us overcome the urge to fall back into old habits. Nutritional experts have compiled important tips to help you keep the weight off for good.
Tip 1: Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals is the biggest mistake people make when trying to maintain lost weight. The thought is they’ll avoid the calories and maybe even drop a few more pounds. Our metabolism is quite sophisticated, and will force you to make up the difference and then some through between meal snacking. Plan to eat 3 to 5 small well balanced meals each day to keep your metabolism burning efficiently while reducing the opportunity for a calorie packed junk food splurge.
Tip 2: Weigh Yourself Weekly

Weigh yourself once a week on the same day and time, and keep track of the results in a journal. This creates an important awareness of your current weight and allows for adjustments if you have strayed from your program. Make adjustments accordingly to maintain a constant weight.

Tip 3: Eat a Variety of Foods
Your new diet is a lifestyle which you must be able to maintain permanently. By including healthy choices from all food groups, you provide your body with all the critical nutrients and reduce the likelihood you’ll want to binge between meals.
Tip 4: Physical Activity Every Day

Regular exercise must be a natural part of your new reduced weight lifestyle. If physical activity seems like a chore, you need to find something different. Remaining active throughout the day should be natural for most people after weight loss, and is critical to your permanent success.

Millions of people are on a weight reduction program at any given time, yet the sobering fact is the vast majority will pack the pounds back on in the near future. Genetics exerts a powerful influence over lost weight, ensuring our survival when food was scarce. We can overcome this evolutionary mechanism with a positive attitude and mindful approach to achieve permanent weight loss for life.
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Busting the Top Fitness Myths

August 22, 2010
(Article first published as Top Fitness Myths Busted on Technorati.)

Fitness myths are as common as old wives tales, and can have a detrimental effect on your workout routine and overall health. We listen to things others tell us about our health and fitness, and after hearing the same advise long enough, we begin to believe it, correct or not.

Some of the advice is harmless, but other times these commonly accepted half-truths can have a negative effect on your fitness regimen and overall health. Information appearing on WebMD details the top fitness myths which could derail your best efforts to get in top physical shape.

Fitness Myth 1: Using a Treadmill Puts Less Stress on the Knees Than Running on Asphalt

This is a common misperception made by many people who have inflammation in the knee tendons and joints. The bottom line is that it makes no difference how you run, even if the treadmill is equipped with a dampening board designed to reduce the stress on your knees. The end result is that you’re still placing your full body weight on your knees, with the same potential to cause damage.

The best work around is to use a variety of different types of aerobic training equipment, and cross train your different muscle groups. Try using an elliptical machine or a stationary bike which will work your upper and lower body to relieve some of the strain which can result in damage and injury.

Fitness Myth 2: Ab Crunches Will Get Rid of Belly Fat

Abdominal equipment has been the rage on late night infomercials over the past decade, promising to get rid of those love handles. If only it were so easy and true. Experts advise you can’t pick and choose where you want to lose fat, as your body will automatically control where fat is stored and lost based on metabolism and other factors over which we have no control.

The best way to get rid of unwanted belly fat, and health damaging visceral fat from all areas of the body is to begin a structured program of cardio aerobic training, coupled with a well balanced diet plan. Our body is well conditioned to take cues from the types of food we eat, as well as the length and type of physical activity we pursue. Eliminate sugar, refined carbs and trans fats from your menu and start a regular fitness routine to take advantage of the stimulating effects of improved diet and exercise.

Fitness Myth 3: An Aerobic Workout Boosts Metabolism for Hours
This myth is half true, as any type of physical activity which raises the heart rate will cause your metabolism to increase for several hours after you finish your routine. The problem is that the additional amount of calories you’ll burn is likely far less than you may have hoped.

Exercise physiologists calculate that most people will burn an additional 20 calories in the post workout hours, so don’t plan on any significant boost after you finish training. If your goal is to reap the health benefits of exercise, then you’re on the right track with a solid, intense training session, but if you’re looking to drop weight for your efforts, you’re much better served by following a reduced calorie diet which includes plenty of fresh vegetables, lean protein and healthy monounsaturated and Omega-3 fats.

There’s no shortage of fitness myths and ill formed advice on the best ways to use physical fitness to advance your health. Many myths are created by marketers looking to profit at your expense, and should be taken at face value. Common sense is always the best rule when it comes to your physical condition and better health.

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Burn Belly Fat and Lower Risk of Heart Disease

August 20, 2010
(Article first published as Tips to Help Burn Belly Fat on Technorati.)

Few people understand the health implications from a few extra pounds packed on the belly. Many consider weight gain a natural component to aging, yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Although metabolism decreases as we age, people continue to eat as they did when they were younger and the extra pounds suddenly appear.

Belly Fat Jumps Risk of Heart Disease
The most common area for fat to be deposited is in the abdomen, as this provided an evolutionary advantage to our early ancestors. Today, it’s much more than just an inconvenience as abdominal fat is metabolically active and causes the body to mount an immune attack leading to systemic inflammation and increased risk for heart disease.

Gaining 9 Pounds Initiates Heart Disease

The results of a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, highlight the importance of gaining weight, especially in the belly. Researchers studied young adults, and compared the changes in their arteries when they put on as little as 9 pounds. They were able to detect significant decreases in arterial blood flow which signaled the beginning of the process known as atherosclerosis. Losing the weight returned blood flow to normal.

Unfortunately most people don’t lose the weight and after decades of layering abdominal fat, heart disease takes root. The human body has an amazing capacity to heal itself when we provide the necessary tools through proper diet, regular exercise and stress reduction principles. Fitness experts encourage people to recognize the dire health risks of excess abdominal fat, and provide tips to target stubborn belly fat.

Tip 1: Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently

Eating several large high carbohydrate meals each day causes blood sugar levels to rise significantly, remaining elevated for hours as the content of the meal are digested. This ultimately leads to insulin resistance, increased cortisol levels and fat stored in the belly. Break meals down to 5 or 6 smaller portions eaten throughout the day, and cut the refined carbs and sugar. This will help to stabilize your blood sugar level, avoiding dangerous surges which can lead to metabolic dysfunction and diabetes.

Tip 2: Don’t Skip Breakfast and Include Protein
It’s amazing how many people avoid breakfast because they believe they’ll lose weight by avoiding the extra calories. Your body will instinctively signal you to eat more to compensate, and those calories are much more likely to be high calorie snack foods. Set aside time each morning to start your day with a healthy breakfast which will jump start your metabolism and drive calories burned for energy. Include a protein source, as this further stimulates fat metabolism.

Tip 3: Stay Hydrated, Drink Water and Green Tea
Water and non-sweetened drinks are your best tool to combat hunger and enable the body to release fat. While you don’t have to count the cups of water, always have some fluids near and dink whenever you feel hungry. Fluids have been shown to assist liver function, a key player in determining whether fat is stored or used for energy. Most teas and especially green and white tea are packed with antioxidants which naturally boost metabolism and drive fat release.

Excess belly fat is a significant cause for concern as it’s been demonstrated to decrease arterial blood flow, leading to the development of heart disease. Small amounts of weight packed around the abdomen are enough to initiate atherosclerosis, as it continues to progress over the years. Fortunately we can target belly fat using common sense lifestyle changes which encourage weight loss and help reduce the risk of heart disease.