Friday, August 27, 2010

Belly Fat - Location, Location, Location (Pt 1)

Not all fat is created equal. Fat can be stored throughout one’s body, but the most critical factor is location, location, location. Abdominal fat, or visceral fat, lies beneath the stomach muscles and affects the body’s critical organs such as the pancreas and liver. Visceral fat is also known as toxic fat because it causes insulin, the hormone responsible for storing fat, to become less effective, making you more susceptible to diabetes.

Study after study shows that visceral fat increases your risk of many critical diseases, such as hypertension, cancer, dementia and heart disease. A waist which measures more than 32 inches increases your risk of diabetes.  Women whose waists measure more than 35 inches are twice as likely to die of heart disease as women whose midsections measure 28 inches or less.

Visceral fat also seriously affects the liver. The liver is responsible for detoxing one’s body and filtering out harmful substances. When the liver is surrounded by visceral fat, it has a harder time eliminating all of the toxins in the body. One disease associated with visceral fat around the liver is NASH (Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis), or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is basically what killed my mother.
Because of my family history of diabetes and fatty liver disease – and being a family of apples instead of pears, I am constantly fighting belly bulge. Several articles I’ve read recently state that abdominal fat is the easiest fat to lose. Statements such as these drive me crazy:

Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD stated in a Web MD article, “Visceral fat, the kind tucked deep inside your waistline, is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat under the skin, especially if you have plenty of it."  

Really? Cause my personal several year study says otherwise. Yes, as soon as I get back into an exercise routine, I can instantly tell a difference in the way my jeans fit around the waist, but the muffin top still remains. 
The fat keeps hanging on like a big, old smelly tire around my belly.

Recently, I read another article about belly fat which may help to explain the never ending cycle of the belly bulge

When under stress, your body releases stress hormones including cortisol. When your body remains constantly stressed and cortisol levels remain high, your body prepares for a hardship, or starvation, and begins storing fat in your body. When in this hardship mode, your body will even take fat from healthier areas, such as your butt or hips, and move the fat to your abdomen, where more cortisol receptors are located. Your body will then turn healthy peripheral fat into visceral fat, increasing inflammation and insulin resistance in your body.

As you can see, it’s a never ending cycle! And this is simply how cortisol works in a normal person's body. How does diabetes affect that never ending cycle? 

Stay tuned and we'll see. 

No comments:

Post a Comment