Do you wish you could decrease your waistline?
In a recent paper, researchers point out that reducing abdominal obesity can lower health risks, but no trending diet can help you specifically eliminate belly fat.
This is against the claims you may have seen on the Internet.
Researchers from the California Polytechnic State University suggest that there is still no miracle diet, food, nutrient, or bioactive component that will target abdominal fat.
However, a heart-healthy diet high in fiber and low in saturated fats is a great way to prevent and reduce abdominal obesity.
Amid the ongoing obesity epidemic, there is increasing attention to the health risks linked to abdominal obesity, which is excess fat stored around the abdomen.
According to the most recent research findings, 54% of Americans have abdominal obesity, while the estimated average waist circumference is growing.
Independent of body weight, a larger waist circumference increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
These risks are mainly related to visceral adipose tissue, which is the fat stored below the abdominal muscles, surrounding the major internal organs.
Visceral adipose tissue appears to be more “metabolically active” than subcutaneous fat, stored under the skin but above the abdominal muscles.
While definitions vary, abdominal obesity has been defined as a waist circumference of about 34 inches in women and 40 inches in men.
Measuring waist circumference is the most common and convenient way to assess abdominal obesity. It corresponds well to other techniques (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and CT/MRI scans).
Research has shown that the risk of abdominal obesity increases with age, especially in women, and with changes in hormone levels.
Can diet help to fight abdominal obesity? These days, the Internet is full of extravagant claims of “new discoveries” to “cure belly fat.”
Diets touted as reducing abdominal obesity include intermittent fasting, high-protein diets, the “Paleo” diet, and green tea, among many others.
But there’s a lack of high-quality evidence on these trending diets, none of which has been shown more effective than other types of energy-restricted (reduced-calorie) diets.
The researchers suggest some diet characteristics appear helpful in reducing or preventing abdominal obesity, particularly lower intake of trans and saturated fats and higher intake of fiber.
These recommendations are consistent with heart-healthy diets like the NIH-developed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean-style diet.
The current article includes information on these diets—both great options as part of a weight loss program including diet and/or exercise, as recommended by the ACSM.
The researchers recommend that health and fitness professionals assess and monitor abdominal obesity in their clients, and to evaluate their cardio-metabolic health risks.
People should be educated about evidence-based, heart-healthy diets.
They need to work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can help in achieving healthy weight loss through diet and exercise.
With the health consequences associated with abdominal obesity, research will not cease in this area.
Health and fitness professionals should continue to stay up-to-date and critical of peer-reviewed, published research evidence.
A single study, even if well designed, does not support changing diet or exercise recommendations.
It is important for both exercise and nutrition professions to give consistent information that is accurate, evidence-based, and applicable to our patients and clients.
The paper is published in the Health & Fitness Journal.
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