Dr. Cory Couillard
A prominent, 17-year study of about 30,000 middle-aged people found belly fat to be a leading cause of type 2 diabetes. Waist size and one’s body mass index (BMI) has also been previously linked to the increased risk of high blood pressure, clogging of the arteries and heart attack.
Researchers have found waist size to be more useful than BMI in predicting diabetes. Obesity is a well-known risk factor for diabetes, but these findings will help identify high-risk individuals who—though not obese—are still vulnerable to the condition because of large amounts of midsection fat.
BMI is a ratio of an individual’s height to weight. This system has been under question as it fails to distinguish muscle from body fat and most importantly where the fat is located in the body. Waist circumference measures the amount of belly fat and how it is distributed throughout the body.
Excess Belly Fat & Organs
Belly fat is a direct reflection of the amount of fat surrounding the vital organs. Excess internal fat will put tremendous pressure on your stomach, pancreas and intestines and other organs. Your organs and glands are responsible for producing hormones. The added pressure from belly fat causes hormonal imbalances and deficiencies found in diabetes and many other health conditions.
Losing belly fat is not as easy as it sounds. Many people think they just have to stop eating fried foods, decrease the amount they eat and start exercising. It’s not that easy when hormonal imbalances are involved.
How to Lose Belly Fat
Simply starting a diet and exercise program will not necessarily rid you of belly fat. However, a similar study demonstrated that the risk of prediabetes going into diabetes can be lowered by up to 60 percent when applying the right programs.
Researchers from the School of Medical Sciences at the University of New South Wales say when people slim down through diet and exercise, fat around the organs will disappear twice as fast in comparison to other bodily fat.
New research has demonstrated that a 20-minute workout consisting of 8 seconds of high intensity exercise, followed by 12 seconds of relative recovery resulted in more fat loss than 40 minutes of continuous exercise. This is excellent news as high-intensity, short-duration exercise does not require fancy equipment, expensive gym memberships or even a lot of time.
In the Journal of Obesity, researchers found that obese men performing one hour of high-intensity, short-duration experienced the same physical benefits as those who jogged for seven hours. Just 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise, three times a week, is all that is needed to achieve significant weight loss around the belly.
The results of the published study show that after a 12-week trial the participants in the study lost on average 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds), 17 percent of which was fat around the organs.
Several ideas go through a person’s mind when they think of exercise. Generally, none of those ideas are positive. It’s expensive, it hurts, it’s time-consuming and, most commonly, I don’t know how to do it properly. With as little as three days per week and 20 minutes of total exercise you can cut your belly and diabetes risk significantly.
This column is directed by your questions, comments and inquiries. The health advice provided is in collaboration with the World Health Organization's and International Diabetes Federation’s goals of prevention, maintenance and natural treatment of disease. The advice is for educational purposes and does not necessarily reflect endorsement.
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