Vegans get the victory

I’ve been telling people that TOXIC BELLY FAT is the enemy when it comes to rising blood sugar levels caused by insulin resistance. These rising blood sugar levels increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and the progression of pre-diabetes to full blown type 2 diabetes. We know that a sedentary lifestyle, the couch potato syndrome, contributes to accumulation of this toxic belly fat. Move it and improve it are words of wisdom when it comes to exercise. Certainly consuming excess calories also contributes to the battle of the bulge around the midsection. Most know the basics, move more and eat less to win against insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity. A recent study, however, sheds some interesting light on a specific type of fat in the diet that really tips the scale toward accumulation of this toxic belly fat. It is known as saturated fat.

This study was done at Uppsala University in Sweden. 39 adult males and females were given 750 extra calories each day. The participants in the study were at normal weight and received the extra calories over a seven week period in the form of either polyunsaturated or saturated fat. The remainder of the diet had the same amount of protein, carbohydrates and sugar. What the researchers were looking for was a difference in the distribution of body fat and the amount of total body fat after the seven week trial. What they found was a significant increase in abdominal fat accumulation in the group who was eating their extra fat in the form of saturated fat compared to the group eating the same amount of unsaturated fat. The total body fat was also higher in the saturated fat eating group.

So it seems the type of fat your eating can make a big difference in how much of that fat your body will ultimately retain. Now to keep things simple, in general, saturated fats are found most commonly in foods from animals. A plant based diet, on the other hand, is loaded with much healthier unsaturated fats. These healthier fats, including the popular omega 3 essential fats, are much better for your brain and heart and can help protect against inflammation. Inflammation can contribute to premature aging and all the degenerative diseases.

Another interesting finding from the Swedish study was that the group eating their extra fat calories from the healthier unsaturated fats also had a higher amount of lean muscle mass compared to the saturated fat group. This is very significant since a pound of muscle burns about 40 to 50 calories a day. A pound of fat, in contrast, only burns about two or three calories a day. That is why it is much easier to maintain ideal weight when you have more lean muscle mass. Muscle cells are calorie burning machines. Fat cells just sort of sit there. More and more accumulated fat in your body means less and less lean muscle and makes it much harder to lose weight.

It looks to me like a plant based diet makes it easier to keep excess fat from building up especially around the waistline. So when you have a choice, and you usually have a choice, avoiding excess meat and dairy in the diet can be a very healthy choice. Vegan, or plant based meals and snacks can help us win the battle of the bulge. The title of my most recent book, “YOUR WAISTLINE IS YOUR LIFELINE” addresses this issue head on. The subtitle “How to defeat type 2 diabetes and obesity once and for all” gives a clue that this mini-guide book is loaded with simple and practical tips for your healthy future.

Remember, a major enemy of your health is TOXIC BELLY FAT. Excess saturated fat in the diet can contribute to belly fat accumulation and less calorie burning muscle. So when you are making meal and snack choices focus on foods that are very low in saturated fats. Better yet, make the shift to a plant based diet especially when you want to lose excess fat. Vegans get the victory when it comes to battling toxic belly fat. It looks like your mother was right. Eating your fruits and vegetables is pretty good advice.

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