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Jan 9, 2012

Lose Belly Fat, Eat More Foods Rich in Soluble Fiber

With the arrival of the holiday season, along with its many tempting food and beverage indulgences, undesired weight gain is a concern shared by many.  Not surprisingly, weight loss probably stands at the top of the list when it comes to New Years’ Resolutions.  While achieving and maintaining optimal weight is important for self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall emotional well-being, it is also vital for physical health and longevity.

Central obesity is a huge problem running rampant in our society today.  It refers to high levels of visceral fat, particularly in the abdominal area.  This is the fat that accumulates around internal organs like the liver, kidneys, and intestines.  Associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and other obesity-related issues, central obesity is a serious problem that should not be taken lightly. 

A new study conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has revealed an important, yet simple aspect of addressing dangerous levels of visceral fat in those who are overweight.  By increasing consumption of soluble fiber, researchers have found that levels of visceral fat decreases.  Some good sources of soluble fiber include foods like apples, pears, berries, broccoli, onions, peas, beans, and whole grains such as oats.

Results of the study showed that for every 10 grams of soluble fiber consumed daily, there was a corresponding drop in levels of intra-abdominal fat by nearly four percent over the period of 5 years.  

This particular study focused on African American and Hispanic American populations, since these populations statistically are at higher risk for development of visceral fat along with the conditions associated with it.  Over eleven hundred participants underwent physical exams and CT scans as a method of determining initial amounts of intra-abdominal fat.  Participants also answered questionnaires related to lifestyle choices and trends.  All testing was repeated after a period of 5 years. 

Although multiple important aspects of health should always be addressed in cases of central obesity (i.e. diet, nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, hormones, sleep, emotions, etc), it is impressive to realize that such dramatic changes may be possible with something as simple as increasing daily consumption of soluble fiber!

Dr. Shana McQueen