Belly Fat : Good Fat Bad Fat?

Belly FatThe Belly fat : Experts aren’t sure why fat can be bad in one area of the body and yet not so bad in others. But they have two strong theories. One has to do with what visceral fat does (visceral fat is around the abdominal area and is too deep to feel; subcutaneous fat is found in areas such as the buttocks, and can be pinched). The other has to do with where it’s located.

Fat cells were once thought of as staid storage units containing bits of fat that expand in a person who is gaining weight and shrink with weight loss. Researchers have since learned that fat cells are more akin to mini-endocrine factories that churn out an array of good and bad substances.

Scientists now know that fat manufactures a plethora of hormones. In 1994 researchers identified a hormone, leptin, which is made by fat cells to signify a sensation of fullness. It is believed that leptin, which plays a helpful role in regulating weight, goes down in people with excessive abdominal fat – – leading people to eat more and gain weight.


Visceral Fat

As women age, they tend to store more belly fat around the middle. To some degree this is beneficial, as it provides needed estrogen and protects vital organs and bones (There is no similar benefit for men!) However, if you cross the line from a small pauch to something more significant, you may be experiencing insulin resistance.

Visceral fat cells make another beneficial hormone, adiponectin, which helps insulin pull sugar from the bloodstream into cells to be used for energy or stored. This also declines as visceral fat levels go up. That can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which cells no longer respond properly to insulin and which can lead to diabetes.

Whitmer’s theory is that inflammatory substances released by visceral fat may enter the brain and damage nerve cells, contributing to cognitive decline. Visceral fat may be worse than fat in the hips or buttocks not just because of the substances it makes — but because of its location. It sits near the portal vein, a major vessel that carries blood from the abdominal organs. “Visceral fat dumps its products into this vein that goes right into the liver,” Bergman says.

Belly fat – These substances include free fatty acids — fat that circulates in the bloodstream — which appear to make the liver produce too much sugar, upsetting the body’s ability to produce the right amount of insulin. This sets up the body for insulin resistance and possibly Type 2 diabetes.

The good news? It’s not difficult to get rid of with diet and moderate exercise. The evidence now is so compelling that some experts suggest it’s time to forget about scales and weight loss and focus on waists and “inch loss.”

In research published in November 2006 in the Lancet, doctors concluded that a person’s waist measurement is a more accurate predictor of heart attack than the body mass index, or BMI, which is a weight-to-height ratio.


  1. Eat your lightest meal at night, and preferably before 6:00 p.m. Digestion is highest at noon, which makes it the best time for more substantial meals. Protein source, vegetables and a fat source like avocado in a salad or olive oil over your vegetables. No grains at night!
  2. Eliminate wheat, white flour, refined sugar, sodas, alcohol, hydrogenated oils, cow dairy (except for ghee or pastured butter, use goat yogurt or goat kefir), bread, crackers, and tortillas.
  3. Emphasize fresh vegetables, fruits like apples or berries, beans, lamb, chicken, grass-fed beef and wild salmon.
  4. For late night cravings, drink Kombucha.
  5. Incorporate 1-2 tablespoons flax or chia seeds each day in a shake or with yogurt.
  6. Use virgin organic coconut oil as a cooking oil or as a spread.
  7. Eat seasonally to help get your body in a seasonal rhythm with warming and cooling foods which can be helpful with weight maintenance.
  8. Find a sleeping rhythm that gets you falling asleep at the same time, and waking up at the same time. Getting into a rhythm with sleep is just as important as with food. Your body responds extremely well to routine, and the metabolism becomes more effective when these two are in sync.
  9. Supplements: If you are not consuming probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir or Kombucha, consider using a high quality probiotic to assist digestion. Do you have chocolate cravings? This may be a magnesium deficiency. If you are short on time in the morning, make a shake with a raw grass-fed whey, or vegetarian protein powder. Make sure to have a protein source with each meal or snack; your energy should remain the same all day when you time this correctly. If you feel that you might be more toxic than usual, you may wan to use a liver detoxifying supplement to assist with the release of toxins that occurs with losing fat.
  10. Adequate water during the day is essential for weight loss and with the eliminations of toxins from the fat tissue. Use coconut water as a hydrating drink when working out.


Belly Blues, Copyright (c) 2006 Los Angeles Times)  8/06

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