"Spare tire", "beer belly", "pot belly"...call it what you may, extra abdominal fat on men and women is usually unwanted and always unhealthy!
Here are some facts about this type of fat:
- The fat that causes a "beer belly" or "keg belly" is mostly made up of a type of fat called visceral fat. This fat is tucked deep inside your waist-line, wrapping around your vital organs, making it the most dangerous kind of fat!
- Visceral fat comes from ingesting too many processed carbs, be they from beer, white bread, sugar, pastas, chips, pretzels... etc.
- It is especially common for men after 35 and women after menopause. And, as it is very hormonally and metabolically active, it is also the cause of hormone imbalances and inflammatory diseases. In this respect, it can easily lead to arthritis, fibromyalgia, GERD, gastritis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Visceral fat contributes to this nation's leading causes of death and disease: heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
- "Yo-Yo Dieting" encourages visceral fat.
- Someone can be considered healthy by looking at the numbers on the scale, but they could still have fat tucked deep inside their abdomen. This is usually the case for adults who don't exercise. A body fat analysis is key in determining if this is the case.
As an anti-aging doctor, I can say that the good news lies in the fact that most people with this problem are aware of it and want to get rid of it.
For those of you ready to take the reigns on this problem, here are some tips:
- Eating whole grains rather than refined, processed grains can help. TIP: Try Ezekiel bread in the frozen food section of your grocery store. It is low in sugar and high in complex carbohydrates. An added bonus for your checkbook... the healthy stuff keeps you fuller for longer, so you need less of it!
- Most people will lose visceral fat by eating more monounsaturated fat, such as those fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and soybeans. These fats have also been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Just make sure the portion sizes are reasonable.
- Exercise can help you lose fat and keep it off, particularly when it comes to visceral fat. Strengthening the belly with crunches and sit-ups can make you look thinner and lighter, but you'll want to add aerobic exercises as this will cause the fat to melt away. This means participating in exercise that makes you sweat!
To lighten the mood, I want to tell a few beer belly jokes for the road...
- Beer bellies are great! They double as a convenient TV tray for nachos and beer!
- Beer bellies allow you to fit perfectly into the concave embrace of waifish supermodels!
- And, the most common beer belly joke of all time...With a beer belly there is more to love!!
But alas, to keep things real, I must also tell you that while the jokes and wisecracks become funnier and more abundant, your health and longevity will suffer greatly. So, let's get serious and lose that gut!