5 Ways to Reduce Belly Fat That’s Increasing Your Risk of Diabetes, Stroke, and Heart Attack
Fat Distribution Can Provide Clues To Particular Health Risks
It’s not HOW MUCH you weight, but WHERE your fat is stored that puts you at risk for certain health problems, according to a new 2017 study.
The study from Radiological Society Of North America took overweight men and women and looked at where their fat was located and how it affected their risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
It makes sense that two people who weigh the same could have completely different levels of health and health risks depending on lifestyle, diet, genetics, etc. They may also differ in terms of where their excess weight is located on their bodies, which is what researchers in this study found to be significant.
So where on the body does fat signify higher risk of disease?
Fat Around The Midsection May Mean Higher Risk
The type of fat that accumulates around the abdominal region is most often ectopic fat, or visceral adipose tissue (VAT). This type of fat seems to be the most dangerous. It also accumulates around the muscles, liver and other organs.
In their study of over 200 overweight and obese individuals, researchers agreed that these ectopic fat deposits in the belly, muscles and liver were the most damaging for cardiometabolic health.
Why is this the case? Visceral fat wraps itself around your heart, liver and other major organs and creates inflammation. It has bee linked to the development of insulin resistances and metabolic syndrome.
What This Means For You
If you have a lot of extra weight in your abdominal region, you may have a higher risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes. But don’t be discouraged! This doesn’t mean you’re doomed, it just means that now you are more aware of what you can work on to have a big impact on your future health.
How To Target Belly Fat
Some people may tell you that it is impossible to target fat in any one area of the body, but this is not actually true! Belly fat, when made of visceral fat, is one of the few types of fat you actually CAN target! Research has found that this type of the most dangerous type of fat is (luckily!) the easiest type to lose.
#1. Get More Sleep
A 6-year study involving nearly 300 adults found that increasing sleep was linked to significant drops in visceral fat! Who knew you could lose fat by sleeping?? This may be an eye-opener for some of you who recognize how your poor sleep patterns may be an underlying cause of your visceral fat!
Suffer from insomnia or anxiety that keeps you up at night? Try our calming Organifi Gold, formulated specifically to help you relax and get the best sleep of your life!
#2. Try Interval Workouts
Research has found that interval training (short bursts of hard followed by stretches of easy) is MORE effective than long steady cardio sessions and takes less time! Meaning you can do interval training for 20-30 minutes a day and experience more results than if you do a steady jog for 60-90 minutes a day.
Studies have also found interval training to be extremely effective at targeting visceral abdominal fat.
#3. Increase Intake Of Soluble Fiber
A 5-year study found that adding soluble fiber to your diet, along with exercise, accelerates visceral fat loss!
Best Sources Of Soluble Fiber:
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
#4. Get Less Than 40% Of Your Calories From Carbs
Studies support the Keto Diet’s low-carb philosophy, though you don’t necessarily have to go quite that low-carb to see results. One study found that people who ate only 40% or less of their calories in carbs burned more visceral fat than those who ate more. 40% is not terribly low and is achievable for most people!
#5. Reduce Stress
I know, I know. Easier said than done! But this is so important. Stress triggers the hormone cortisol, which increases visceral fat. A little stress in your life is healthy and normal, but feeling chronically stressed and burned out leads to all kinds of health problems, including weight gain and a weakened immune system.
How can you reduce stress? First of all, you’ve got to make it a priority. Be intentional. Figure out one or two habits you can apply and/or change in your life to help you feel less pressured. Say no to something, cut things out of your schedule that are not serving you, pick up meditation or yoga, create a soothing nighttime routine, get a massage once a week, pick up a hobby you really love to do, etc.
Even something as simple as drinking warm tea every morning while you quietly contemplate what you’re grateful for can have an impact on your stress levels.
Makes 9 large brownies
- ¾ cup smooth almond butter
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup vegan chocolate chunks or chopped dark chocolate bar of 60-70% cacao
- ½ cup Organifi Vanilla Complete Protein
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chunks, to sprinkle over the top
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8-inch square pan with a sheet of parchment paper, leaving some overhang over each side.
- In a large bowl whisk together the almond butter, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla.
- In a small bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt ½ cup of the chocolate chunks.
- Pour the melted chocolate into the almond butter mixture and whisk vigorously to incorporate.
- Add the protein powder, cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine until completely smooth.
- The batter should be thick, slightly fluffy and free of any dry lumps of powders or nut butter.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly with a spatula.
- Sprinkle over the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chunks and gently press them into place.
- Bake for 25 minutes until the top feels almost firm and the edges are a little bit cracked.
- These will slice neatly with adequate chilling time. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before serving. Best enjoyed cold, straight out of the fridge and will keep well in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- 1/2 green apple
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 large lemon
- 1 lime
- 2 small mandarins
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 inch ginger
Instructions: Run all ingredients through your juicer and voila, drink it up!
Not all fat is created equal! Visceral fat (also known as ectopic fat) is the most dangerous to your health as it creates inflammation, surrounds your major organs and can put you at higher risk for heart attack and diabetes.
It is time to say YES to yourself! Make your health a priority and take small steps to shift your lifestyle into one that improves it rather than hurts it. You are worth it.
Remember, we’re in this together.
- Radiological Society of North America. “Fat distribution in women and men provides clues to heart attack risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 November 2017.
Jenna Barrington is studying Therapeutic Nutrition and Holistic Medicine and aspires to be a practitioner, teacher and writer. She is passionate about education and helping others take control of their health.
Jenna lives with her husband in Utah and loves writing, cooking, green smoothies, training her dog, Japanese, spending time at the ocean, bungee jumping, walking barefoot in the grass and being with her family.
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