Fat-gut Alert

Spare tyre, dad bod, skinny fat – what­ever you call it, weight around your waist can be deadly. Here’s how to de­flate the dan­ger

Men's Health (Australia) - - Contents -

Dis­cover the per­ils of vis­ceral fat to slash your risk of se­ri­ous ill­ness.

1 FAT CHANCE

You may be at more risk than you re­alise. Around two-thirds of Aus­tralian men are over­weight or obese. And, in many cases, the ex­cess ki­los are de­posited around their mid­dles as vis­ceral fat. Your fleshy belly sur­rounds your liver, stom­ach and in­testines and, rather than sit flab­bily in­ert, is bi­o­log­i­cally ac­tive, im­bal­anc­ing your hor­mones and rais­ing your risk of meta­bolic and car­dio­vas­cu­lar com­pli­ca­tions. So far, so bad.

2 MIND GAINS

It sneaks up on you be­cause you’re hard­wired to store fat: in evo­lu­tion­ary terms, it’s part of your body’s sys­tem of stock­pil­ing en­ergy. Now that you’re no longer hunt­ing or gath­er­ing, how­ever, it’s a prob­lem. Outsmart bi­ol­ogy by start­ing your day with a high-fat break­fast of av­o­ca­dos and eggs (or sausages). This pro­motes meta­bolic plas­tic­ity, mak­ing you burn more belly fat for en­ergy*.

3 GUT PUNCH

A muf­fin top is of­ten poor in bio­di­ver­sity. Keep an eye on your toi­let: in a re­cent study, sci­en­tists found that a hard, lumpy stool has fewer ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­rial species. The fix, ac­cord­ing to re­search, is a 10g in­crease in daily fi­bre, which boosts your mi­cro­biome and is also as­so­ci­ated with a 3.7 per cent drop in vis­ceral fat. Add two ta­ble­spoons of psyl­lium husks to your ce­real or shake.

4 HEART OF THE MAT­TER

As your belly grows, its im­pact on your heart is de­ter­mined by your waist-to­hip ra­tio. To work this out, mea­sure both and di­vide waist by hips. A score of 0.9 or higher in­di­cates cen­tral obe­sity, which means your car­diac risks are higher. Hit the weights: mus­cle lim­its the dan­gers of vis­ceral fat** by ex­tract­ing glu­cose from your blood, help­ing your liver process fatty acids and re­duc­ing in­flam­ma­tion.

5 BROWN IS THE NEW WHITE

The surf beck­ons – and you can use cold wa­ter to your ad­van­tage in the bat­tle against the bulge. Not all body fat is harm­ful. While vis­ceral fat is “white fat”, as­so­ci­ated with an un­healthy me­tab­o­lism, “brown fat” burns kilo­joules and helps the body to gen­er­ate heat. Train­ing in cold wa­ter “turns on” brown fat, stok­ing your me­tab­o­lism and burn­ing off your belly^.

IF YOU LET IT KEEP GROW­ING, BELLY WILL GET YOU.

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