by Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom
I have to chuckle when I see the new “spin” on abdominal fat (apple shaped people!) as in “Banish Your Belly Fat Now!” or “Foods That Fight Belly Fat!” As if belly fat were some kind of separate part of the body that responds to a specific type of diet plan. If only…
The bad news on belly fat is that because belly fat cushions several key metabolic body organs, it makes this fat more damaging to your health compared with the lower-body fat around your hips and thighs. So, even if your weight is not dangerously high, if your body fat settled in your middle, you are at greater risk for diabetes, and other metabolic diseases related to excess weight.
Where do you fit in? National studies show that women with a waist circumference larger than 35 inches, and men with a waist circumference larger than 40 inches, are at a greater health risk. You don’t always need a tape measure to determine your belly fat status. For example, if you cannot see your toes, it may be a sign to consider making some health improvements.
To see where you are with your body fat, enlist the help of your doctor for greatest accuracy in your waist measurements.
The good news on belly fat is that when you start any weight loss plan, it’s usually the first area of reduction. You literally feel like you are deflating. And you can monitor your progress by your belt notches or your waistband. Or, being able to button your jeans and still breathe. We all have our own ways to measure up!
So forget about those ads with supplements or foods promising to melt belly fat. Not true. No food targets the abdomen, specifically, to “break down fat.” When fitness solutions sound too good to be true, they usually are.
What stories about belly fat have you been hearing?