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Improve Blood Vessel Function By Losing Belly Fat

Overweight people who shed pounds, particularly abdominal belly fat, can improve the function of their blood vessels.

According to a new study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers, it doesn’t matter whether people are on a low-carbohydrate or a low-fat diet, losing belly fattranslates into improving blood vessel function and overall heart health. The new study was presented at the American Heart Association scientific meeting in San Diego on March 13 that is focused on cardiovascular disease prevention.

In the six-month weight-loss study, the Hopkins researchers determined that the more belly fat the individual study participants lost, the better their arteries were able to expand when needed, allowing more blood to flow more freely.  Also… The researchers  found that participants in the study who were on a low-carb diet lost about ten pounds more, on average, than those who were on a low-fat diet.

Above the waist… Being overweight increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially if the fat is accumulated in the belly

“After six months, those who were on the low-carb diet lost an average of 28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds among those on the low-fat diet,” said chief researcher Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology at the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute.


The research team studied 60 men and women who weighed an average of 215 pounds at the start of the program. Half of the participants went on a low-carb diet while the others followed a low-fat diet. All engaged in moderate exercise and their diets provided a similar amount of calories each day.

In order to evaluate the health of the participants’ blood vessels before and after the weight lossprogram, the researchers conducted a blood flow test by constricting circulation in the upper arm for five minutes with a blood pressure cuff.  With this type of test, when the cuff is released, a healthier artery will expand more, allowing more blood to flow through the artery. The researchers measured how much blood reached the fingertips before, during, and after the constriction of the artery. The test can give an indication of the overall health of the vascular system throughout the body.


The researchers found that the more belly fat a person had lost, the greater the blood flow to the finger, signaling better the function of the artery.

“Our study demonstrated that the amount of improvement in the vessels was directly linked to how much central, or belly fat, the individuals lost, regardless of which diet they were on,” they explained. “This is important since there have been concerns that a low-carb diet, which means eating more fat, may have a harmful effect on cardiovascular health. These results showed no harmful effects from the low-carb diet.”


In the low-carb diet used in the study, up to 30 percent of calories came from carbs such as bread, pasta and certain fruits, while 40 percent was from fat consumed from meat, dairy products and nuts. In contrast, the low-fat diet consisted of no more than 30 percent of calories from fat and 55 percent from carbs.

Interestingly,  participants on the low-carb diet lost more weight and at a faster pace, on average, which has also been observed in several other studies. The researchers observed eating greater amounts of carbohydrates can slow down the rate of body fat losswhile on a weight reduction diet.


The findings were consistent with early results presented in June 2011 at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Denver. That initial report was based on results after participants in the study had lost their first 10 pounds.


These longer-term results show that weight loss, along with exercise, is important for improving vascular health. Also, following a low-carb diet rather than the conventionally recommended low-fat diet for weight loss is not a concern in terms of vascular health.


Story Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

American Heart Association meeting in San Diego, CA March 2012


Johns Hopkins Medicine (2012, March 13). “Losing belly fat, whether from a low-carb or a low-fat diet, helps improve blood vessel function.”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor, physician or healthcare professional.


Here’s Your Prescripti​on For Losing Belly Fat

Pandemic of Lifestyle Diseases

Image by colros via Flickr

Be Aware Of The Dangers Of Too Much Belly Fa

Belly fat promotes insulin storage, which increases hunger and cravings for sugar and carbohydrates, further boosts fat storage around the belly area.   The fatter a person gets, the more insulin-resistant they become, which creates a vicious cycle of craving carbs and sugar, unwanted weight gain, yo-yo dieting, becoming hungry and gaining more weight again and again.


There Are Two Types Of Belly Fat To Be Concerned About…

Subcutaneous Fat – Is the visible kind of fat just above your hips that jiggles and looks unattractive;

Visceral Fat – Not visible, but hides out deep in the abs and wraps itself around vital organs.


While subcutaneous fat can make you look and feel unattractively fat, it is the invisible visceral fat that is the real problem. Visceral fat functions like an endocrine system because it is metabolically active itself. It releases enzymes and hormones into the bloodstream that raise blood pressure, increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good (HDL) cholesterol.

Visceral fat also interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin and increases estrogen  levels. Too much visceral fat can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, breast  cancer, type 2 diabetes and other unhealthy conditions.

Waging A Successful War Against Belly Fat

Is Easier Than You May Think!   Use These Proven Ways To Lose Belly Fat:


1. Cut Back On Carbs and Sugar…

It is important to immediately reduce sugars, simple carbohydrates, processed foods and  any products made with high fructose corn syrup. It absorbs quickly, boosts inflammation, blood glucose and insulin levels.


2. Don’t Use Artificial Sweeteners As A Substitute…

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame increase inflammation and insulin resistance, ultimately triggering increased storage of belly fat.

Try to keep your appetite satisfied (comfortably full) with a diet stimulating the body’s metabolic function for efficient fat-burning.  Your diet should consist of:                                                      30% – 40%  Protein,

30% – 40% Carbohydrates

No More Than 30% Total Fat

3. The Mediterranean Diet Is Ideal…

Traditionally, the Mediterranean dietincludes high consumption of olive oil, legumes, beans, nuts,unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables, fish, moderate servings of dairy, red  wine, and keeping the consumption of red meat low.

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

Image via Wikipedia


It’s deliciously satisfying, simple and proven to be healthy… People following the Mediterranean diet lose more weight,  maintain key improvements in cholesterol and reduced blood pressure. Subsequently,  their risk of heart disease is lower more than people on a low-fat diet.


4. Specific Food-Source Nutrients Are Beneficial Against Belly Fat

Omega-3 Fatty Acids from fish oil also help reduce damaging inflammation which promotes unhealthy insulin resistance and subsequent accumulation of belly fat.

Cinnamon Extract and Chromium have both been shown to lower insulin resistance, consider including supplements in your daily regimen

Green Tea contains catechins,the powerful antioxidants that have been proven in several studies to release fat cells and allow more efficient weight reduction.


5. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Are Nutrient Rich and     They’re  Full of Water and Fiber..

Fruits and veggies have the unique ability to expand in your stomach and fill you up with fewer calories and nearly no fat!

That’s why it’s crucial to eat  at least five servings daily…


6. Be Sure To Get At Least 2-3 Servings of Whole Grains Daily…

Eating a diet high in whole grains and low in refined carbohydrates makes it easier to minimize storage of fat throughout the body. Nutrition specialists and food scientists believe the dietary fiber and magnesium in whole grains may help maintain insulin sensitivity.

One of the most important areas currently being studied is the crucial role of whole grains on measures of insulin sensitivity.


7. Physical Activity and Regular Exercise…

Never underestimate the importance of exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. A good combination of cardio, resistance (strength) training and interval training is best, depending on your age and  general physical condition.

People who don’t exercise are more likely to regain weight than those who combined a  healthy Mediterranean style diet with regular aerobic exercise five days a week. People  who exercise regularly also improve their cholesterol levels, aerobic capacity, blood  pressure and blood glucose levels.


Reduce Belly Fat Quicker With “Interval” Training…

Interval training means alternating periods of intense exercise with low-intensity exercise or rest, and can be used successfully with any type of aerobic sport, such as walking, biking or jogging. Alternate slow and fast cycling or fast walking and running, recommends the Mayo Clinic.

For example… A  20-minute cycling regimen that includes sprinting on a stationary bike for 8 -10 seconds followed by 12 seconds of light cycling. A  person can lose more belly fat than those doing only cardio, even though the cardio workouts are almost twice as long!

It’s also important to note that proper interval training suppresses the appetite hormone  known as Ghrelin. Thus, a person naturally want to eat less.

Weight Lifting (also known as resistance training and strength training) Is A Very Powerful  Weapon Against Belly Fat

In resistance training, a person increases their muscle strength and

endurance by doing repetitive exercises with weights or weight machines. Building lean muscle speeds up metabolism and fat burning efficiency.

Start to reap the rewards of resistance training with least 30 minutes two or three times a week.People can lift weights and do circuit-training at the gym, and do resistance crunches and push-ups at home or office.

Experts recommend performing the resistance training workout before your aerobic workout to get best overall results and to burn maximum fat.

When a person successfully decreases their belly fat, they will firm muscles in their central core: abs, back and chest, so they look fitter and slimmer.


8. Reduce Levels Of Stress, A Major Contributor To Gaining Fat…

With stress, the body increases its production of Cortisol, a dangerous hormone that increases the appetite and makes people crave high-fat, high-sugar comfort foods such as cookies, cake and ice cream which all pack on unwanted, unhealthy pounds.


Research at Georgetown University Medical Center demonstrated that chronic long-term  stress resulted in metabolic syndrome, a series of unhealthy symptoms including inflammation, weight gain, insulin resistance and increased belly fat.

To effectively reduce stress, try gentle stretching, deep breathing, yoga or meditation, or take a long nature walk.


9. Adequate Sleep Is Also An Important Factor In Long

Term Reduction Of  Belly Fat

Studies show that inadequate sleep affects  levels of two key appetite hormones, Leptin  (which decreases hunger) and Ghrelin (which increases hunger).


Several studies have proven that people who sleep only 5 hours compared to those who  sleep at least 8 hours experience a dramatic decrease in Leptin and increase in Ghrelin, resulting in additional weight gain.


The increase in appetite and craving of high-carb foods like cookies, candy and cakes, rise significantly when a person skimps on sleep!.


Be sure to get at least 7 – 8 hours of quality, restful sleep each night.


This article is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutritional consultation.

New Study Reports Soluble Fibre May Reduce Belly Fat

Increased consumption or soluble fibre may reduce the amount of deep belly fat that people accumulate, according to new research. The study has been published in Nature’s Journal “Obesity” found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fibre eaten per day, deep belly visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 per cent over five years.

The researchers also reported that increased moderate activity resulted in a 7.4 per cent decrease in the rate of visceral fat accumulation over the same time. It is important to recognize that visceral fat is known to be more dangerous than subcutaneous found near the skin.

“Our study is valuable because it provides specific information on how dietary fibre, especially soluble fibre, may affect weight accumulation through abdominal fat deposits; “Making a few simple changes can have a big health impact.”said researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, USA.

The research team examined whether lifestyle factors, including diet and frequency of exercise, were associated with a five-year change in abdominal fat of people who are disproportionally at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure and diabetes and accumulating visceral fat.

The researchers reported that intake of dietary soluble fibre was associated with a decreased rate of visceral fat, but not the accumulation of subcutaneous fat;

“Results from the current study reveal that increased consumption of soluble fibre led to a decreased rate of visceral adipose tissue accumulation, suggesting that increased soluble fibre intake may be instrumental in slowing this natural progression,” said the researchers.

Fat Risk…
The negative effects of obesity has been associated with hypertension, blood lipid imbalances, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and type-2 diabetes.

“Studies indicate a direct relationship between levels of visceral adipose tissue and future risk of impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes,” they added.

“We [also] know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease,” they emphasized.

The researchers noted that increasing dietary fibre has been specifically recomended to help fight weight gain, with many previous studies suggesting a link between fibre intake and levels of obesity.

Source: Obesity (Published online)
“Lifestyle Factors and 5-Year Abdominal Fat Accumulation in a Minority Cohort: The IRAS Family Study”

This article is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult with your doctor or healthcare professional for medical and nutrition advice.

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