It goes without saying that carting around excess pounds isn’t good for your health. Being overweight can take its toll on your joints and is linked to some devastating diseases.
But now researchers have revealed how your weight is distributed could send your risk for diabetes and heart disease skyrocketing. In the large study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists pinpointed a link between having a big belly and the two diseases.1
We already knew, of course, that belly fat wasn’t exactly what you would call healthy. But for the first time researchers have linked so-called “pear shape” body types to diabetes and heart disease.
And here’s the kicker, the link exists regardless of your body weight. In other words, even if you’re relatively thin elsewhere if you’re sporting a beer belly or a fluffy tummy your risk of developing one of these life-altering diseases may be significantly higher than someone who is far more overweight, but doesn’t tend to gain around the belly.
In the JAMA study having a large hip to waist ratio raised heart disease risk by 46 percent and the risk of type 2 diabetes by a disturbing 77 percent.
But if you’re a natural pear shape and your belly is less than flat, don’t despair. When you lose weight you’ll likely lose it in the belly first, and a lower carbohydrate diet along with exercises that target your core can help you whittle down your waist and drop your risk in no time.
But don’t stop there. You may be able to supercharge your belly-shedding ability with one of the following food secrets.
Bust through belly fat with black currants
If you’ve found yourself gaining weight when your stressed you’re not alone. It’s not just the stress eating either. It turns out your body’s fight-or-flight hormone, cortisol, could be a key player in your growing belly.
But while chronic stress sends your cortisol levels soaring—and your waist ballooning—it turns out a simple vitamin may be able to help. When researchers gave chronically stressed rats 200 milligrams of vitamin C their cortisol levels plummeted, according to a study presented at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society.2
In another study, researchers sent a group of volunteer’s stress levels skyrocketing using a combination of math problems and public speaking (yes, really). Half of the folks were then given 1000 milligrams of vitamin C.
The group that got vitamin C had a far lower stress response with lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels and less overall feelings of stress, according to the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology.3 In the real world that means that a diet that’s rich in vitamin C could help you keep a lid on your cortisol levels, which in turn could spike your belly-fat burn.
Black currants pack over 202 milligrams of vitamin C into a cup. Other high C foods include red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, papaya and strawberries.
Whittle down your waist with white tea
Polyphenol packed white tea, typically made from the young buds and leaves of the Camellia sinensis tea plant, makes a delicious drink. But a delicate and slightly sweet flavor isn’t the only thing white tea brings to the table. Researchers say it could help accelerate belly fat loss too.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism white tea attacks fat from two different angles.4 First of all the delicious brew helps burn off the mature fat cells that are stored up in that dreaded belly bulge, and other pudgy places on your body. But then, just as exciting, the tea helps to block the formation of new fat cells. Which means it could help keep your belly from ballooning again.
You’ll find white teas in the tea and coffee aisle at the grocery store and online. Sip a cup or two every day to help accelerate fat loss.
Lose tummy flab faster with coconut oil
Research has revealed you can put your belly trimming routine on the fast track simply by swapping out other fats in your diet for organic coconut oil. The medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in the oil can accelerate calorie burn without any extra effort on your part.5,6
In fact, according to research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 15 to 30 grams of MCTs a day can bump up your energy burn by 5 percent.7
But coconut oil’s benefits don’t end there. It turns out the oil is particularly suited for targeting that stubborn and dangerous belly fat that’s driving up your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
In a study published in the journal Lipids, a group of women who were battling belly bulge were able to significantly reduce both their waist size and BMI over 12 weeks simply by supplementing with two tablespoons of coconut oil a day.8 And in a similar study, men knocked over an inch off their waistlines in four weeks by taking two tablespoons of coconut oil a day.9
1. “Genetic Association of Waist-to-Hip Ratio With Cardiometabolic Traits, Type 2 Diabetes, and Coronary Heart Disease,”JAMA. 2017;317(6):626-634
2. American Chemical Society. “Scientists Say Vitamin C May Alleviate The Body’s Response To Stress.” ScienceDaily. sciencedaily.com (accessed February 15, 2017)
3. “A randomized controlled trial of high dose ascorbic acid for reduction of blood pressure, cortisol, and subjective responses to psychological stress.” Psychopharmacology (Berl). 159, 319-324
4. “White Tea extract induces lipolytic activity and inhibits adipogenesis in human subcutaneous (pre)-adipocytes,” Nutrition & Metabolism, 2009, 6:20
5. “Thermic effect of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides in man,” Am J Clin Nutr. 1986 Nov;44(5):630-4
6. “Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides,” Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 May;53(5):1130-3
7. “Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber,” Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996 Mar;50(3):152-8
8. “Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity,” Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601
9. “An Open-Label Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Virgin Coconut Oil in Reducing Visceral Adiposity,” ISRN Pharmacol. 2011; 2011: 949686
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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