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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Visceral Fat a.k.a Hidden Belly fat

Visceral fat is another term for hidden belly fat, the fat that builds up around your internal organs. What are the risks of having too much visceral fat? That's an easy one: an increased risk for the development of metabolic syndrome and the onset of type II diabetes, in addition to hypercholesterolemia and hypertension.

In other words, if you build up too much visceral fat and maintain it for too long, you are putting yourself at risk for all the these conditions, not to mention cardiovascular disease and impaired kidney functioning.

Fortunately, however, visceral fat can be reduced through a number of tried and true techniques. There's nothing new about these techniques, of course, but they are certainly worthy of repetition.

1. Burn more calories by becoming more active. If you don't have time to go to the gym, at the very least try a morning or afternoon walk and do it consistently. Even getting a minimal amount of physical activity into your daily routine can, over the long haul, make a difference in your health. Consistency and repetition are really key. And if your job is sedentary and requires you to be chained to a desk, keyboard, and monitor all day long, make sure you get up and stretch or walk around frequently. Recent evidence indicates that the mere act of remaining sedentary for prolonged periods without interruption can sabotage an individual's attempts to lose weight.

2. Reduce your portions and eat more meals, not less. Those who vacation in Europe typically notice two things when Americans and Europeans are dining in restaurants. Americans are larger and they take bigger portions at meal time. The truth is, however, that few of us really need to consume the portion sizes that we have become accustomed to. By reducing portion size, you can begin to get a handle on appetite control and satiety and make life easier for your gastrointestinal processes. And eating a number of smaller meals throughout the day versus 2-3 large meals each day can help facilitate this. Not only that, it can help you avoid glycemic overloading and spikes in blood glucose levels, which, over time, can lead to insulin resistance.

3. Eat more monounsaturated fats. There's a reason why the residents of certain countries can include a significant amount of fat in their dietary intake without increases in average weight and added visceral fat. And it has everything to do with the type of fat they consume. Monounsaturated fats have been linked to weight loss and a more efficient metabolism. Where do you find monounsaturated fats? Olives, avocados, nuts (including peanuts, almonds, pistachios), seeds, and even peanut butter. However, from the standpoint of meal preparation, substituting olive oil for standard cooking oil is an excellent idea.

4. Get more polyunsaturated fats in your diet. Polyunsaturated fats can help to reduce overall cholesterol levels and can also help to lower your levels of bad cholesterol, or LDLs. These good fats can be obtained from fish oil, seafood, and nuts, foods that are coincidental for omega-3 fatty acids.

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