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  • Thursday, November 28, 2019

    Why losing belly is good for health

    Why losing belly is good for health

    Over the years, your size has thickened. These pounds around the belly are not trivial: they increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


    Belly fat is different from that of the hips or thighs. "All the epidemiological studies carried out over the past fifteen years have shown that the increase in waist circumference is correlated with the increased risk of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease," says Professor Max Lafontan, director of research at Inserm.

    How does abdominal fat work?

    Unlike the superficial fat found under the skin, this deep, visceral fat is not inert. It releases into the bloodstream different molecules (fatty acids, hormones, growth factors ...) that will, gradually, hinder the proper functioning of organs.

    What is the belly syndrome?

    These cascading reactions unbalance the body. Little by little, all the indicators go red and form what is called the "metabolic syndrome". Different criteria define this syndrome:
    • excessive waist circumference,
    • a blood test showing too high a triglyceride level and an increase in fasting blood glucose,
    • too high blood pressure
    • and a rate of "good" cholesterol (HDL) lowered.

    A person with at least three of these symptoms has a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure...), but also cancer and liver disease.

    Why is visceral fat toxic?

    This fat sends messages that interfere with the functioning of organs. It's a whole balance that's broken.

    - It disrupts essential organs: the fat cells of the abdomen store fatty acids. "The problem is that this fat is drained by the blood vessels that feed the liver," says Professor Karine Clément, obesity specialist at the Institute of cardiometabolism and nutrition of Pitié-Salpêtrière (Paris). Via the bloodstream, fatty acids reach the liver. They will disrupt its functioning but also, by a chain reaction, that of the pancreas, muscles and heart.

    - It causes inflammation: immune cells infiltrate abdominal fat during weight gain. In response, the body triggers inflammation. This phenomenon, too, has harmful consequences since toxic molecules will go into the bloodstream and reach the liver. "These inflammatory factors contribute to insulin resistance, which is associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This inflammation also disrupts cell biology, which could explain the increased risk of cancer, including breast cancer after menopause, "adds Clément.

    - It attacks the cardiovascular system: in parallel, the balance of cholesterol is changed: the bad (LDL) takes precedence over the good (HDL). Fat accumulates in the liver and blood vessels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and hepatic steatosis.

    - It promotes insulin resistance: the liver will secrete more glucose. The pancreas responds by triggering a peak of insulin, a hormone to regulate blood sugar levels. In the long run, the body no longer responds properly to this insulin. He becomes "resistant". A mechanism that leads to type 2 diabetes.

    How do I know if my waistline is excessive?

    The measurement of the waist is done standing, standing upright, and at the navel. Waist circumference is considered excessive when it exceeds 94 cm for a man and 80 cm for a woman.

    These figures are standards adapted to the morphology of Europeans. Some people have a bead around the waist, but little deep fat. To find out, a scanner or an MRI should be done! For now, we stick to the waist, measured with a simple meter seamstress.

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