Thursday, October 21, 2010

Reduce Your Belly Fat to Cut Health Risks: Here's How

When it comes to your health, losing fat in achieving a healthy weight is great (you don't want to lose muscle). Even better? losing belly fat, as it is now known that the more weight you carry around your middle (abdominal fat, central adiposity or being an 'apple' shape) is directly related to the buildup of fat below the surface around your internal organs in that same area - known as visceral fat. This is type of fat or body shape poses the greatest risk to your health, even if your weight is within the normal range. Tricky right? So how exactly do we rid ourselves of visceral and abdominal fat?

You should know by now that you can't 'pick and choose' where you lose fat. If you consume fewer calories or engage in cardiovascular activity, fat loss is generally from all over your body. This means that doing more crunches won't give you a six-pack if you ignore your diet or don't get to a low enough total body fat percentage. But one thing is true: for every 5% total weight loss, 30% of that weight loss comes from abdominal fat! So, if you started off weighing 150lbs and you lost 7.5lbs to weigh 142.5lbs, your abdominal fat would be reduced by 30%! Alright, so how do we lose these 5 lbs and what is the best way to rid ourselves of belly fat through our diets?

New research suggests that consuming a diet filled with whole grains is the answer. In the study, adults who ate three or more servings of whole grains per day, and limited their refined grains to less than one serving per day, had 10% less belly fat than those who did not follow this diet. These findings held true regardless of smoking status, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and fruit and veggie consumption!

The bottom line, folks, is don't cut carbs out of your diet! Just replace the refined ones with whole grains! In doing so, you can help reduce your belly fat and lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms including hypertension, unhealthy cholesterol levels and insulin resistance, which can develop into cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes, as well as other chronic diseases. Will someone please pass the brown rice?

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