WHY IT’S TIME TO TAME YOUR tummy

Do you – or a loved one – need a lit­tle bit of mo­ti­va­tion to get those love han­dles un­der con­trol? The ex­perts ex­plain why trim­ming that tummy can be a lit­eral life­saver…

Diabetic Living - - Slim-down Special -

Here’s the truth – it can be a lot trick­ier to man­age your di­a­betes when you are car­ry­ing around ex­cess weight. And, when that weight is sit­ting around your belly, you are also ex­posed to other com­pli­ca­tions with health, such as high blood pres­sure, heart at­tack and stroke. That’s why there has never been a bet­ter time than right now to take some ac­tion against the belly bulge.

Why is belly fat bad for me and my di­a­betes?

There are two kinds of belly fat – sub­cu­ta­neous and vis­ceral. Sub­cu­ta­neous fat is that jig­gle that’s right un­der your skin. While it may be an­noy­ing, it is rel­a­tively be­nign. Vis­ceral fat, which is the fat that you can­not see, is a dif­fer­ent story. “Vis­ceral fat con­tin­u­ously re­leases free fatty acids into the blood­stream,” ex­plains en­docri­nol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor Joseph Proi­etto from the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne.

“This can cause fatty liver. It also stim­u­lates ex­cess glu­cose, which goes to the beta cells in the pan­creas that con­trol in­sulin func­tion and dam­ages them.” Vis­ceral fat also pro­duces harm­ful in­flam­ma­tory chem­i­cals. “These are linked to con­di­tions like di­a­betes and heart dis­ease, and may con­trib­ute to com­pro­mised im­mu­nity and less healthy or­gan func­tion,” ex­plains Pro­fes­sor Proi­etto.

What ac­tu­ally causes belly fat?

While some peo­ple are more prone to ac­cu­mu­lat­ing belly fat than oth­ers – par­tic­u­larly men and post-menopausal women – eat­ing too much and ex­er­cis­ing too lit­tle car­ries most of the blame for an ex­pand­ing waist­line. Cer­tain med­i­ca­tions can also cause your waist­line to ex­pand – turn to page 82 for more in­for­ma­tion. In ad­di­tion, hav­ing higher con­cen­tra­tions of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol in your blood en­cour­ages the stor­age of ex­cess en­ergy as vis­ceral fat, ex­plains As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Stephen Boutcher from the Univer­sity of New South Wales. “High cor­ti­sol is caused by poor sleep, work stress, depression and smok­ing,” he says, so it is

im­por­tant to con­sider all of these fac­tors if you want to re­duce vis­ceral fat.

You’ve got my at­ten­tion – what can I do about my belly fat?

The good news – and yes, there is good news – is you don’t have to com­pletely over­haul your lifestyle to get rid of un­healthy belly fat. Mak­ing small but pow­er­ful changes to your diet and ex­er­cise regime can help you lose weight and give your di­a­betes man­age­ment a boost at the same time. While talk­ing to your care team is the first step in get­ting your belly un­der con­trol, this spe­cial will help arm you with all the vi­tal in­for­ma­tion you need to kick your weight-loss goals!

Reg­u­larly check how you mea­sure up to en­sure you do not hold ex­cess vis­ceral fat

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