In men, adequate levels of testosterone are necessary to maintain a healthy fat distribution. However, research has shown that the presence of visceral fat can interfere with testosterone production, further exacerbating the storage of fat in the belly. Excess abdominal fat not only reduces testosterone production, but is also associated with a rise in the female hormone estradiol in men. It is unclear if testosterone decline associated with aging disrupts the production of testosterone, or if the accumulation of fat via weight gain leads to lower levels of testosterone. Either way, the reduction of visceral fat via lifestyle changes is beneficial for overall health in men.
There are currently no legal requirements for food manufacturers to label trans fats, according to the British Dietetic Association, so you need to check ingredients lists for hydrogenated fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils. The biggest culprits? Your ‘cheat day’ favourites: cakes, biscuits, ice cream, popcorn, pies, fried food, fast food, takeaways — the list goes on.
At one time, we might have accepted these changes as an inevitable fact of aging. But we've now been put on notice that as our waistlines grow, so do our health risks. Abdominal, or visceral, fat is of particular concern because it's a key player in a variety of health problems — much more so than subcutaneous fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs.
The more you stress, the fatter you may become. Stress, from bills, family or work, causes you to produce more cortisol, a hormone that encourages your body to store excess calories as belly fat. Mindless eating and cravings for high-calorie, high-fat foods also accompany stress for a lot of people. Seek out alternative ways to deal with stress, such as talking with a friend or practicing yoga.
In fact, liquid calories now make up a whopping 21 percent of our daily calorie intake—more than 400 calories every single day, more than twice as much as we drank 30 years ago. To give you a perspective on those numbers, imagine taking two slices of Pizza Hut Thin ‘N Crispy Pepperoni Pizza, tossing them in a blender and hitting “puree,” then drinking the whole thing down. That’s 420 calories. Now imagine that the typical American has been doing this every single day for years.
These little black morsels of nutrition are packed with fiber, protein and, most important of all, omega-3 fatty acids. Pair chia seeds with green tea in a smoothie to turbocharge the tea’s fat-burning powers. According to a study review in the International Journal of Molecular Science, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may enhance not only the bioavailability of EGCG, but also its effectiveness.
Calorie for calorie, sugar is different to other food groups such as protein, complex carbohydrates, and fat, because it confuses your normal appetite controls and causes your body to produce fat. Refined sugars are often hidden in a plethora of different products that you wouldn't expect such as fruit juices. Make sure to check the labels before eating the products.
You wake up slim, but go to bed with a bloat that grew throughout the day. This bloat is a sign of a poor diet. You could be dealing with food sensitivities or allergies in addition to too much of one food group (dairy, protein) and not enough of others (veggies). The bloat makes you want to unbutton your pants by 2 p.m. and you're probably feeling pretty sluggish at that point, too
Research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active. It's appropriate to think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect our health. Although scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it's becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of these hormones.
While the most exact way to measure visceral fat is by MRI or CT scan, an at-home approach is to calculate the waist-to-hip ratio by dividing the waist measurement by the hip measurement. For example, if the waist measures 56 inches and the hips measure 45 inches, dividing 45 into 56 gives a ratio of 1.2. A waist-to-hip ratio higher than 0.95 in men and 0.85 in women significantly increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Simply measure the waist to identify if there is a higher probability of excess visceral fat. In men, a waist measurement over 40 inches (and in women, a waist measurement over 35) indicates an unhealthy accumulation of visceral fat and an increased risk of health problems.
For an ideal lemon water detox program, no weight-loss elixir can compare to this zesty potion. It is also remarkably simple to prepare. All it takes to bring this recipe to fruition is a 12-ounce glass of water, half a ginger root knob and a freshly squeezed lemon. The citrus promotes happy digestion, especially first thing in the morning. The ginger is also uniquely beneficial. With abundant quantities of special compounds known as shogaols, this bold additive quells nausea while guaranteeing intestinal wellness. Fresh ginger is also rich with gingerol, which is a magical detoxifying agent.
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Elisha is a clinical nutritionist who specialises in nutrition for weight loss, insulin resistance, digestive and mental health. Elisha has a huge amount of experience in complimentary health, particularly in helping to work through food related issues such as diabetes and obesity, and provide assistance to combat emotional eating. She has been part of the Healthy Mummy team of experts since 2012, writing informative blog posts, contributing to our recipe books and the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipes. Elisha loves working for The Healthy Mummy because “I love creating family friendly recipes, knowing that women all around the country are losing weight and gaining more confidence and changing their lives for the better.”