The Most Dangerous Type of Fat
According to data from the Center for Disease Control published in 2008, a staggering 68% of Americans are overweight. And what's even worse than that is that over 30% of those overweight people consider themselves to be in the normal range. All you have to do to prove this point is to visit an online dating site. You will find thousands of people who classify themselves as being normal, and yet one look at them and it's easy to see that they are overweight.
Do not be fooled by advertisements that tell you that their products will help you to lose 10, 20, or 30 pounds in a short amount of time. In the beginning of any weight reduction diet your body will - always - give up water weight first. Your body is pre-programed to save fat for energy reserves. There are no exceptions to this rule.
At the very most your body will typically lose no more than 3 pounds of fat per week. If you were to lose 5 pounds or more per week it would be dangerously unhealthy. Your body was programed to function a very specific way. This programming was built into your DNA and has been that way ever since man first started to walk on this planet. You cannot change the way your body functions. You cannot trick it to lose fat any faster than it was designed to.
A Little Body History
Back when man first started to walk on this planet there were no fast food restaurants at every street corner. Heck, back then there weren’t even streets. There were just open fields and mountains and oceans, and it was very easy to become some wild animals lunch. Early man roamed everywhere he went on foot, and staying alive was job one. Early man would survive on vegetation, nuts, fruits, and some fish, and the diet contained between 100 and 300 grams of fiber per day. Today most people only consume around 12 grams of fiber. This gross reduction in fiber has become deadly for modern man. One of the easiest ways to increase your health is to simply increase your fiber intake. Early man migrated according to the seasons and none of them were fat. None of them died of strokes, and none of them died of heart attacks either. In fact the first recorded heart attack wasn’t until 1921.
At that time mankind started to increase their consumption of grain-based carbohydrates, highly processed and refined foods, and there was also a increased consumption of artificially processed foods. There is a direct link to this and the increase of type II diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.
There were also other things going on such as chemicals like fluoride was added to the water supply, and mankind reduced their consumption of necessary fruits and vegetables. Your body simply can’t take its original programming and go from a diet of vegetables, nuts, and fruits and have it replaced with highly processed, refined and artificially processed foods. It is no mystery why so many people today are dying from cancer, strokes, diabetes, and heart attacks.
The typical American diet is very toxic to the human body. A fast food diet contains much less nutrition than a diet that consists of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and fish. A diet based on toxic foods will not only harm your internal organs, but it will also pack on the fat, as your body simply does not know how to get rid of these toxic substances, so it stores these toxic substances in your fat. Simply put, if you have fat around your mid section, then you have toxic fat around your internal organs. Toxic fat that is literally killing you!
This type of fat is also called visceral fat. For most men, the risk factors increase with a waist size greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters). The risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches (88.9 centimeters) for women. This toxic fat increases your risk for cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, cancer type 2 diabetes, high triglycerides, sleep apnea, gallstones, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, impotence, liver poisoning, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol, increased risk of all types of dementia including Alzheimer's disease, and of course heart disease. As you can see this one thing - belly fat - can cause a lot of health issues. Isn't it worth doing something about it today, instead of hearing terrible news from your doctor tomorrow?
Turns out fat is not “just fat”
Another way to think of belly fat is as an endocrine organ. An endocrine organ can produce hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect your health. A hormone called leptin is one such hormone produced by fat. It is normally released after a meal to dampen your appetite. Another hormone produced by belly fat is called adiponectin. It influences the response of cells to insulin. Research shows that belly fat disrupts the balance and normal functioning of these hormones. A European study where nearly 500,000 men and women participated found that belly fat was associated with a 52% increase in colorectal cancer.
A quickie diet will not help you get rid of this toxic fat. It is your lifestyle that is killing you, and only a change in your lifestyle is going to improve your health. Now before you go and turn off your interest you should know that it's really not that hard to make a positive change, and even a small change is still a positive step in the right direction.
The only way to regain your health is to get rid of this toxic fat. Doing sit-ups and crunches will not help you get rid of this toxic fat. You cannot spot exercise to get rid of this toxic fat. Sit-ups are designed to make your abdominal muscles stronger, not to burn belly fat. In fact sit ups can actually make you look worse because as you develop a six-pack and your ab muscles grow, they will push your belly fat out making you look fatter than before.
But don’t be discouraged from exercising. There is no better time than now to start exercising. Day by day the older you get the more muscle you lose. As you age, you naturally lose muscle — especially if you're not physically active to begin with. Muscle loss (also known as Sarcopenia) will slow the rate at which your body burns calories. After the age of 40 the average person loses muscle mass at the rate of approximately 1 percent per year. After the age of 50 it jumps to 2 percent per year. By the time they reach 70 a healthy person has over 20 percent less muscle mass than they once had at 36. Now is the time to start exercising. The sooner you start, the easier it gets.
A lot of people seem to be afraid of the word exercise. But new research shows that as little as 10 to 15 minutes a day can have profound results. Vigorous aerobic activity, in addition to strength training are the two best types of exercise that will help you, but any exercise is good exercise.
A common misconception is that simply removing trans fat (or trans fatty acids) from your diet is the answer. It is not. While removing trans fats from your diet is always a good thing, you could remove all the trans fats you want until the cows come home, and you will still have the same health problems. Trans fat is only part of the problem, it is not the entire problem. And you should also be aware that when a label says “0 Trans Fats" that it does NOT mean that it contains no trans fat! This is because the FDA allows the “0 Trans Fats" label to be used on anything with 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, and label it as zero.
It’s not just bad food that can harm you. Drinking alcohol can also cause you to gain belly fat — how ironic that many call this a “beer gut”. However, beer isn’t alone. With the exception of wine, drinking too much alcohol of any kind can increase belly fat, not just beer.
So, exactly what is the best way to remove belly fat? Simply put, reduce calories and increase physical activity. There is no secret genetic formula that you need work out to understand how to lose belly fat. If you have a checking account at a bank, then you already understand what you need to do to lose not only belly fat, but any type of fat.
Your Bodies Checking Account
Let's imagine that you have a checking account, only the ‘bank’ is your body. Now if all you do is deposit money into your account (food) your account grows (you get fat). If instead you just spend money from your account (exercise) your account shrinks (you get lean). And that's exactly how your body works when it comes to fat. When you eat food it’s like depositing into your bodies checking account. This is called the anabolic phase. When you exercise it's like spending money from your checking account. This is called the catabolic phase. So all you need to do is to burn more calories going out (exercise) than the amount of calories you're eating going in. Your body will automatically work out the rest by itself.
Remember, your body was designed to work a specific way. When you burn more calories than the calories you eat, your body will naturally lose fat. It has no other choice. This is what it's programed to do, and for as long as you do this the fat will stay off. Fast food and junk food typically are low in nutrition and high in calories and carbohydrates. One way to lose belly fat is to stop eating fast food / junk food, and instead pack a lunch for work and simply do 10 or 15 min. worth of exercise every day. This is just one way to lose belly fat. You could also simply take the stairs instead of the elevator, play an activity game like Dance Central on your XBox, or park your car a little further from the store entrance. It all adds up and helps you a little each day.
The point here is that you need to stop consuming highly processed, refined and artificially processed foods, and replace them with more natural fresh foods and then simply add a few minutes worth of exercise each day. The hardest part of the process is to take that first step.
Most people that used to dread the thought of exercise now see how unfounded their fears were, and actually start to look forward to exercising a little each day. In upcoming articles we will look at what some of the worst foods are to stay away from, what kind of foods can help you to burn fat, which exercises give you the most bang for the buck, is there a best time of the day to exercise, and why women shouldn't be afraid to exercise.
For right now just consider spending a few minutes a day doing something positive that will make you healthier. Once you decide to lose a few pounds and to live healthier, the rest is easy. Remember, the hardest part of the process is to take that first step.