In order to feel fit and efficient, a slim silhouette is neither a prerequisite nor a guarantee. But it is also undisputed that too many pounds harbor health risks: from high blood pressure to fatty liver to life-threatening breathing pauses during sleep. But when do a few comfortable, perhaps somewhat annoying pillows become serious problems?
The “visceral fat” makes you sick
Our body has the formerly vital ability to convert excess food energy, for example from sugar, into fat in order to bunker the calories for bad times. It stores its calorie reserves in the subcutaneous fatty tissue (so-called subcutaneous fat), which also serves as an insulator against cold and heat.
He then creates further depots in the abdomen: the so-called visceral fat envelops the internal organs. When there is a large excess of calories, the body can even store fat in muscle cells, in organs such as the heart and liver (fatty liver), and even in the bones.
Lower abdominal fat produces pathogenic messenger substances
Doctors are particularly concerned about the so-called hip gold: In contrast to the “harmless” subcutaneous fatty tissue, the fatty tissue in the abdominal area produces hormones that cause illness. These messenger substances promote high blood pressure and underlying inflammation. Studies suggest that they even increase the risk of cancer. In addition, lighter fatty acids are released from the abdominal fat and enter the bloodstream: bad for the heart.
Getting Rid of Belly Fat: Eating right is crucial
In order to lose pounds permanently, the right dose of filling protein must be on the table, as well as more vegetables and whole grains – but little carbohydrates overall, and especially little sugar. Fiber is important because it fills you up and improves bowel function, explains nutrition doc Anne Fleck: “A healthy gut environment has a positive effect on weight.”
One should not eat more, so the body consumes energy. But not permanently too little, i.e. far below the basal metabolic rate, explains Doc Fleck: “Otherwise the body gets into a bunker state, so it bunkers all the energy it can get.” Intermittent fasting can be very effective in accelerating weight loss. To put it simply, during intermittent fasting the body is only put on energy withdrawal for a few hours or for individual days. As a result, he switches to fat burning instead of throttling the basal metabolic rate.
A change in diet is easier for a team. Nutritionists or certified nutritionists support patients in the weight loss process, if necessary by temporarily prescribing a high-quality formula diet. “Anyone who has already made a few unsuccessful attempts to lose weight or has several different illnesses should definitely get professional help for the individual change in diet,” advises Doc Fleck. The doctors can also check whether the pounds are falling in the right places. With bioimpedance measurement (also called “bioelectrical impedance analysis” – BIA for short), they use electrical impulses to determine body composition, including water, fat, and muscle percentages.
Measure the success of therapy regularly
Body fat scales for the bathroom use the same principle, but are far less accurate and cannot determine whether the fat is melting exactly where it should: in the abdominal area. “If you want to assess your risk of developing visceral fat, it’s best to use a tape measure,” advises nutritionist Jörn Klasen. The World Health Organization (WHO) urges women to lose weight from a waist circumference of 88 centimeters and men from 102 centimeters. “But caution is required even below these values,” explains Matthias Riedl. “The danger zone starts from a waist circumference of 80 centimeters for women and from 94 centimeters for men.” If symptoms such as high blood pressure or arthrosis occur here, the abdominal fat should definitely be reduced.