Excess Adipose fat, it is really the central problem of our time.
There are many causes, but the major cause is our ultra-processed high starch and sugar diet, that's the biggest cause because that drives insulin.
Then insulin drives all the available fuel that you've eaten into your fat cells in your belly.
And then it keeps the fat there and prevents it breaking down.
It produces all these inflammatory compounds, and it screws up your hormones, and it makes you feel hungry all the time.
Also it slows your metabolism.
So, it's the worst possible thing.
So, we know that a high carbohydrate diet in the sense of excess starch and sugar with little or no vegetables is a major cause of this health issue.
So, the “eat as much as you want” offer is one of the biggest drivers of this.
But there are other causes too, right?
Let's talk about a few of them.
I always get so concerned when I see, a young child, maybe eight or nine and their parents are buying them a big muffin and a sugary drink for breakfast.
I am thinking it's setting them up to have problems for their whole life.
I feel it's important that people take care of the basics of good nutrition, the basics of a good diet, but sometimes people feel like they're doing everything right and it’s still going wrong for them.
And usually there's hidden reasons for why these people start to develop visceral adiposity.
And they gain belly fat when they're really doing a lot of things correctly.
One of the things that I find that people don't realize is what happens when they start to lose lean muscle mass as they get older. So, we might be exercising a good amount every day.
But if we're not working really hard to maintain that good lean muscle mass, what happens after the age of 25 is we slowly start to lose lean muscle mass.
As this happens it's just so much easier for the body to put on excessive fat and we know that having good lean muscle mass and exercising really helps keep our insulin sensitive.
So, this one thing slowly catches up with people and they become more insulin resistant over time.
Also, there's been multiple studies which show that toxins are associated with this visceral adiposity.
Basically, it’s really important to minimise and maintain muscle loss when you get older.
Muscle loss can really be thought of as replacing muscle with fat.
So, you could be the same weight at 65 as when you were 25 but twice as fat!
And that fat is in your muscles.
It's not, just in your belly, it’s also this poor metabolic fat.
So, it’s really important that people understand this.
Exercise, strength training, building muscle and aerobic exercise, even interval training will help improve metabolic function and help keep this insulin resistance at bay as we age because it is something that affects almost everybody as they age unless they do something actively about it.
It's so much easier when you're younger to maintain your lean muscle mass.
And as you get older, it's really hard work.
Many people say well “I do go for a walk every day” but it's just not enough.
People need to be getting in at least two days a week where they are really working on resistance type exercise and there's so many ways they can do that.
That can make a big difference.
What else is there?
There are other things like the microbiome.
There's so much information that we're learning and there's going to be so much more that we're going to learn over time.
I don't think we have obviously figured it all out yet but over the last 10 years there have been amazing advances in our knowledge.
The book by Dr Bruce Lipton called “The Biology of Belief” when it was first published over 10 years ago was ahead of its time in my opinion and a lot of what was shared in that book has now been confirmed by Quantum Physics.
We know that there's certain bacteria in our digestive system that are associated with less inflammation and a healthier weight and there's certain bacteria in our digestive system that are associated with more inflammation in the body and having an easier time with weight gain.
So, it's fascinating, the association between the microbiome and this whole process of insulin resistance.
Anything that causes inflammation could cause weight gain.
Why? Because anytime there's inflammation, it results in some insulin resistance.
But the biggest cause is obviously, sugar and starch, those are the two biggest things that are driving inflammation.
But there are a lot of other things that people don’t think about that also do it involving different types of exercise for example.
Now, people might say “well Okay, all this is great science about belly fat and what it does and why it's bad and how to test for it and what causes it but how do I actually get rid of it?
That’s the big question, right?
How do you actually get rid of it?
You can drive these biological changes really quickly and really change the quality of the fat.
There's a recent study which illustrates this which is looking at gastric bypass surgery.
Basically, they say gastric bypass works, because it causes all these amazing changes in hormones and appetite etc.
Well, somebody decided maybe they should test this theory.
So, they took a group of people who were really overweight, and they gave half of them gastric bypass surgery. The other half just ate the diet that the gastric bypass group people ate after they had the surgery.
There was no difference!
Very quickly, within days of changing their diet, the group who did not have the gastric bypass surgery found the quality of their internal body fat changed.
It went from being inflammatory fat, that's driving all these problems, to really starting to shift that.
So, it can happen pretty quickly.
Even if you're still a little overweight, you can still have the metabolic and health benefits by starting to change, of course, you still need to get the weight down.
But I think it's just an interesting phenomenon.
Visceral adiposity, that belly fat is associated with is linked to high levels of insulin in the body and insulin resistance. That means that the body isn't listening to its insulin as well as it used to. So high levels of insulin, causes us to store calories and to gain weight, it makes us hungrier. But it also makes it much harder to lose weight.
So how do we really work with our physiology to try to prevent insulin spikes?
Because we know that higher levels of insulin are what's really driving us to gain this visceral adiposity.
And we know it's those refined carbohydrates and sugars that drive up insulin levels in the body.
And we know that if we ate just healthy fats and protein we wouldn't secrete a lot of insulin, we would secrete some insulin but not as much as with carbohydrates.
So, what's really important is bringing down the percentage of calories that somebody is getting from carbohydrates, especially the refined and processed carbohydrates that cause that insulin spike.
We always talk to people about having a balance of good healthy fats, lots of fibre and some protein at every meal, and just reducing the simple sugars and refined carbohydrates, because that brings the insulin requirement down and makes us less likely to hold on to that weight around our belly.
So basically, the key to this is keeping your insulin levels low.
Because as long as your insulin levels are high, the body really has a one-way street of putting fuel into your fat cells.
Basically, insulin locks the fat cells in your belly, and prevents the breakdown.
How do you cut insulin levels?
Well, you've got to cut out the starch and sugar, especially if you're an extreme case, if you have a lot of belly fat, you really need to be stricter like no sugar, grains, beans, even some fruit.
And then as you start to become more metabolically healthy and resilient, you can add things back, but it's really key to be really strict about it.
Also, there are other factors like artificial sweeteners that are driving this and there are other carbohydrates which people may think are okay, like they’re eating whole grains, or eating whole wheat bread, but they may not be okay for people who are really insulin resistant.
Did you know something really important, when you eat fat it doesn't cause any spike in insulin?
So, if you take a type one diabetic (which is very different than a type two diabetic, which is basically a person who is having a problem producing enough insulin to deal with the sugar and starch in their diet), type one diabetics have an auto-immune disease that damages their pancreas meaning they cannot make insulin in their body.
The presenting symptoms for a type one diabetic which every doctor learns about in first year medical school is that they are hungry all the time, they're peeing all the time and they're losing weight.
So, they could be eating 10,000 calories a day and lose weight. Why?
Because there's no insulin.
So, that's really the key and a Ketogenic diet is the most extreme version of eating more fat, less starch requiring the body to produce less Insulin.
Protein is really important too.
But if you eat too much protein, you can also get an insulin spike.
There's so much research showing the connection between insulin resistance and belly fat and breast cancer.
So, you really want to focus on lowering your waist to hip ratio and on lowering your insulin levels, because we know that will lower inflammation in the body.
You can start by improving your diet and getting a lot more phytonutrients and a lot more fibre.
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You can increase your Omega 3 fats by eating more fish
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Also, really try to increase your green tea intake.
There's some really interesting research with green tea because it's got anti-angiogenic properties.
Whilst green tea has been shown to be able to impact the tumour suppressor gene in a healthy way and decrease the risk of cancer in that way.
It’s also an antioxidant and helps lower insulin production and helps with lowering body weight.
Studies have shown when people drink four cups of green tea a day for eight weeks, they had improvement in their metabolism and their weight and also their BMI.
So, lots of phytonutrients in your diet, lots of vegetables, but also Kimchi may help to improve your Microbiome.
Most of the time, it is really about the diet.
There's so much we can do and simple, simple changes in your diet make a huge impact on how easy it is to maintain a good healthy weight and to prevent this from happening.
And, you know, when you make those changes, and cut out that extra sugar and cut out those refined carbs, you're also not only having an easier time with maintaining your weight and keeping that weight off your belly, but also preventing all those diseases that are associated with it.
And I think when you look at ageing, when you look at fertility, when you look at chronic disease, when you look at productivity, when you look at your brain function, all those things are related to this excess of belly fat.
And by adding the exercise you can exercise your way into better health and fitness and increase your metabolism.
It's really important as you're losing belly fat to maintain your muscle, that's where you need some strength training and exercise as well as improving your diet.
Because if we can get this straight, we're going to solve so many of our global issues around the world relating to health and chronic disease, the economy and everything else.
Cheers to your Good Health with much love from Stephen & Karen X