While we associate belly fat with being overweight, have you ever noticed that even slender people can have a belly? If you are very thin, you may just think that you are constantly bloated. It turns out that this is only partially true. Some of that “bloating” may actually be fat.
There are two places for fat to go in the body: under the skin and around organs. Fat under the skin is called subcutaneous fat. Fat around the organs is called visceral fat. A very small degree of visceral fat is normal. When visceral fat begins to infiltrate tissue and build up around organs, it creates belly fat. Even people who are not overweight can still have excess belly fat. Belly fat, or visceral fat, puts you in a high-risk category for:
- Type II diabetes
- Heart disease
Visceral fat tissue is a hormonal organ all on its own! Fat cells actually send chemical messages throughout the body. Other organs that release hormone signals are endocrine glands such as the ovaries, testes, pancreas, and the pituitary gland in the brain.
This hormonal role of fat is exactly why belly fat promotes disease. The signals, or hormones, released by fat do things like:
- Control appetite.
- Create insulin resistance. (1)(2)
- Increase sensitivity to pain. (3)
- Inhibit muscle growth. (4)
- Generate an alarm call for a further inflammatory response.
Scientists have found that fat cells release pro-inflammatory messages into the body. Incidentally, these pro-inflammatory messages tell the body to produce more fat! (5)(6)
Leaky Gut and Belly Fat
A recent study found a correlation between leaky gut and visceral fat. The team of researchers conducting the study looked at healthy women with intestinal permeability. (7)
- They found that these women with a permeable gut lining were far more likely to carry belly fat, or visceral fat.
- Their conclusion was not only an association. Researchers suggest that one causes the other.
- The study found that leaky gut leads to excess belly fat.
The study implied that intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, could be a big contributing factor to the development of belly fat!
Cutting belly fat is not about energy in and energy out, otherwise known as calorie counting. The best way to gently and successfully lose belly fat is to recalibrate hormones.
Heal the Gut, Lose the Belly Fat
The Body Ecology Diet is specifically structured to heal the gut wall. Part of this healing involves eating fermented foods and consuming probiotic beverages as much as possible. Why is this? Why do we focus so much on beneficial microflora?
- A healthy inner ecology, thriving with beneficial microbes, will not allow microbes that cause inflammation to set up shop.
- Good intestinal bugs have actually been shown to reduce inflammation and heal the epithelial cells lining the gut wall. (8)
As we mentioned before, fermented foods with beneficial bacteria cool down inflammation and help to seal a leaky gut. Fermenting is made easy with the Veggie Culture Starter and the Kefir Starter. If you don’t have time to ferment your own foods, Body Ecology offers InnergyBiotic, which provides a wide array of beneficial microflora in only a few ounces a day.
The best way to focus on intestinal repair is the Body Ecology Core Program - the foundation to digestive health. It contains the most bio-available form of glutamine, an amino acid especially important in rebuilding intestinal tissue. Studies show a dramatic improvement in the structure of the gut lining after supplementing with glutamine. (9)
What to Remember Most About This Article:
Extra belly fat doesn't just affect people who are overweight. Even if you're not overweight, you can still have excess belly fat, increasing your risk of heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer, and dementia.
Studies have shown a link between leaky gut and belly fat. Having a permeable gut lining increases your risk of belly fat. Getting rid of belly fat can't be achieved with simple calorie counting to lose weight. The best way to get rid of belly fat is to heal a permeable gut wall with fermented foods and probiotic beverages to restore health to the digestive system.
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- I. Gabreily, et al. Removal of visceral fat prevents insulin resistance and glucose intolerance of aging: an adipokine-mediated process? Diabetes. 2002 Oct;51(10):2951-8.
- N. Barzilai, et al. Differential responses of visceral and subcutaneous fat depots to nutrients. Diabetes. 2005 Mar;54(3):672-8.
- The differential contribution of tumour necrosis factor to thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia during chronic inflammation. Inglis JJ. Arthritis Res Ther. 2005;7(4):R807-16. Epub 2005 Apr 12. 288
- TNF-related weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a potent skeletal muscle-wasting cytokine. FASEB J. 2007 Jun;21(8):1857-69.
- Miguel Otero, et al. Leptin, from fat to inflammation: old questions and new insights, FEBS Letters, Volume 579, Issue 2, 17 January 2005, Pages 295-301, ISSN 0014-5793, DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2004.11.024.
- Fat produces proinflammatory factors that stimulate its own growth. Endocrinology of adipose tissue – an update. Fischer-Pozovsky P, Hormone Metabolism Research 2007 May;36(5):314-21.
- Gummesson, et al. Intestinal Permeability Is Associated With Visceral Adiposity in Healthy Women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Aug 18. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.251. [Epub ahead of print]
- Y. Ringel, T. Ringel-Kulka, D.P.A. Maier, I. Carroll, J.A. Galanko, G. Leyer, O. Palsson. “Probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 versus placebo for the symptoms of bloating in patients with functional bowel disorders – a double-blind study” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e31820ca4d6
- JD, Schulzke. Therapeutic options to modulate barrier defects in inflammatory bowel disease. Dig Dis. 2009;27(4):450-4. Epub 2009 Nov 4.
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