Yet another reason to increase intake of soluble fiber (fruits, vegetables and beans) in our diet.
According to the National Institutes of Health (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_113877.html), a study recently published in Obesity identified decreased visceral fat stores with the daily addition of 10 grams of soluble fiber during a five-year study. Visceral fat (aka belly fat) is that deep fat that wraps around internal organs to increase ones risk of premature death.
An excess amount of any fat, including visceral fat, boosts estrogen levels. Visceral fat is responsible for producing hormones and substances linked to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure (stroke), Type 2 diabetes, breast and colorectal cancers as well as fatty liver disease. The liver metabolizes this fat to release it into the bloodstream as cholesterol. It is harder to lose than subcutaneous fat because it is more deeply embedded in the bodys tissues.
Typically the fat that accumulates in the lower body (pear shape) is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area (apple shape) is largely visceral. Where fat ends up is influenced by numerous factors, particularly heredity and hormones. As you gain weight, if you are an apple shape, it is deposited in the middle more than on the thighs and hips (pear shape).
Middle age also brings the spread because of the change in hormones as well as typical decreased activity levels. Bottom line is the apple shape is at higher risk for health concerns. Research continues to confirm this. I guess having the thunder thighs or big booty is something to be grateful for. Ill keep reminding myself of this when looking for slacks to fit my thighs and hips.
This study found that an increase of 10 grams daily of soluble fiber reduced belly fat by 3.7 percent over a five-year time frame. It also found that regular moderate exercise (30 minutes two to four times a week) resulted in another 7.4 percent reduction over the five years. The type of exercise was found to make a difference on visceral fat loss, too. Walking and jogging improved visceral fat loss more than swimming (gravity).
To achieve 10 grams of soluble fiber, there is quite a variety of fruits and vegetables. Beans provide the highest level at ½ a cup (pinto beans, navy beans, etc.). A cup of fresh or frozen berries, a large apple or certain vegetables do the job. A description can be found in the Colorado State University dietary fiber fact sheet (www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09333.html).
So how do you know if you have too much of that fat? Measure your bare stomach at the belly button. Relax, exhale and measure (resist the urge to suck in your stomach).
For women, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more indicates an unhealthy concentration of belly fat and for men, 40 inches or more is cause for concern. The waist-to-hip ratio is another indicator for men, high risk would be 1 inch or greater, and for women, 0.85 or greater.
email@example.com or 247-4355. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.