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Are Your Pants Too Tight?

Por Emiliana Faillace, Nutrition Counselor, MyDiet™ -

Excess abdominal fat may be even more dangerous than overweight itself. This was demonstrated by the study “General and Abdominal Adiposity and Risk of Death in Europe,” published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers provided a new approach to the issue of obesity by demonstrating that people who have more abdominal fat run twice the risk of dying from any cause. This happens because fat cells in this area are metabolically active, which means they are continually secreting inflammatory substances in the body, and this causes negative effects.

Having excess fat in the abdominal area may increase the risk of developing the following disorders:
• Insulin resistance.
• Heart disease.
• Diabetes.
• Breast and colon cáncer.
• Metabolic síndrome.
• Hypertension (high blood pressure).
• Gallbladder problems.
• Stroke.
• High triglyceride levels.
• Low levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol).
• Sleep apnea (difficulty to breath during sleep time).

What causes abdominal fat? 
Generally, aging is related to a decrease in people’s physical activity level, which results in a decrease in muscle mass, a slowdown in metabolism and, therefore, weight gain. Eating excessively or drinking too much alcohol may also influence this situation.
After menopause, women begin to store more fat in the abdominal area, due to hormonal changes. Also, some medications have the side effect of increasing abdominal fat (for example, steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like prednisone).

How to know if you have excess abdominal fat? 
The way to tell is by measuring your waist circumference. Use a measuring tape to measure your waist. The recommended value for men is 40 inches (102 centimeters) and for women, 35 inches (89 centimeters). 

How to get rid of abdominal fat? The most effective strategy to get rid of abdominal fat is to lead a balanced diet, including all food groups (dairy, vegetables, fruits, cereals, meats, fats, and sugars) with moderation.
Choose whole grains, high fiber cereals, and unrefined flour.

Unsaturated fats, such as avocado, olive oil, olives, nuts, peanuts, seeds, and omega-3 fatty acids are recommended to prevent heart disease.
Exercise goes hand in hand with a balanced diet, as it helps burn calories and fat. Aerobic exercises, like walking, jogging, driving bicycle, swimming, jumping rope, or using a cross-trainer will help you reduce body fat.

Source: Belly fat in men: Why weight loss matters. Retrieved August 7, 2009 from 


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