OBESITY THE FAT FACTOR!!
When the Flat Belly Diet experts talk about belly fat, it's important to know that there are actually two different types: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous is best defined as the fat that you can see, the "inch you can pinch." Subcutaneous means "beneath" (sub) "the skin" (cutaneous), and it's no secret that this fat resides all over. In some places—your thighs, underarms, belly—it may be thicker than in others, but for the most part it's everywhere, even on the soles of your feet.
What also distinguishes the Flat Belly Diet is that it targets the second type of fat—visceral—which is much more dangerous and difficult to lose. Visceral fat (which gets its name from viscera, which refers to the internal organs in the abdomen) resides deep within the torso, wrapping itself around your heart, liver, and other major organs. In fact, it's possible to be relatively thin and still have too much visceral fat. That's why it's sometimes referred to as "hidden" belly fat, but we prefer to think of it as "deadly." Excess visceral fat can literally subtract years from your life.
How does this happen? Carrying excess visceral fat is one of a complex group of symptoms collectively called Metabolic Syndrome, or Syndrome X. The other symptoms are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and elevated insulin levels. Having just one of these conditions contributes to your risk of serious disease, but your risk grows exponentially as the number of symptoms grows.
Visceral fat has been linked to a long list of adverse health conditions, including:
High blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease
One of the main reasons visceral fat is so deadly is because of its role in inflammation, a natural immune response that has lately been tied to almost every chronic disease . Visceral fat secretes precursors to an inflammatory chemical that helps fuel the systemic process that exacerbates early symptoms of disease.
In fact, according to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, visceral fat may have a greater impact on the cardiovascular health of older women than does overall obesity. Danish researchers found that women with excessive belly fat had a greater risk of atherosclerosis than those whose fat was stored mostly in their hips, thighs, and buttocks. Here's why:
The proximity of visceral fat to your liver boosts production of LDL cholesterol (the "bad" one), which collects in your arteries and forms plaque, a waxy substance.
Over time, this waxy plaque becomes inflamed, causing swelling that narrows the arteries, restricting the passage of blood.
The narrowing passageways increase blood pressure, straining your heart and potentially damaging tiny capillaries.
The inflammation further increases your risk of blood clots, which can break loose and cause stroke.
But it gets worse. fat also contributes to insulin resistance, an early precursor to diabetes. Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells do notVisceral respond to insulin and the pancreas is forced to increase production in order to clear the bloodstream of glucose. Over time, insulin resistance can lead to full-blown diabetes, which can severely comprise the entire circulatory system and cause long-term issues with vision, memory, and wound healing.
As if that weren't enough, a Kaiser Permanente study comparing people with different levels of belly fat showed that those who had the most belly fat were 145% more likely to develop dementia compared with people with the least amount of belly fat. Why? Inflammation again, suggest investigators.
These science-based studies should be reason enough to motivate you to shed your belly fat forever. But even if you reduce calories and exercise regularly, you can still be left with too much hidden visceral fat. What is the answer? By focusing on the research, we've discovered that the only way to minimize both visceral and subcutaneous fat is by eating the right kind of ...fat. Studies have shown that a core group of healthy fats—monounsaturated fats that we call MUFAs (pronounced moo-fah), are the key to shedding both subcutaneous and the deadly visceral fat.