Central Obesity: The Deadly Fat
For you ladies, is your waistline more than 35 inches around at your navel? And, for you gentlemen, is your waistline more than 40 inches around at the same location? If so, you could be carrying excess fat in your abdominal cavity even if you are not overweight. This fat is known as belly fat, visceral fat, central obesity or abdominal fat.
What is the big deal about belly fat? Well, this deposited fat is an outward sign of activation of the metabolic syndrome. As you have learned from my second and third books as well as other posts on this website, metabolic syndrome can manifest itself a bit differently in each of us but can include; elevated serum triglycerides, elevated LDL cholesterol, depressed HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated uric acid levels, gout in those genetically prone to the disease, type two diabetes and fatty liver. These problems lead to heart disease and stroke.
Metabolic syndrome now affects over 100 million adults and nearly 20 million youth in America and the first published paper discussing its appearance on the health scene was 1981. We now know many individuals in our lives that are affected by various aspects of metabolic syndrome, including stroke and heart attack. And, the numbers are growing by the millions annually.
Why is this happening? We have been instructed by various health authorities that we should be consuming “heart healthy” whole foods that are rich in carbohydrates. We are told to consume generous portions of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to the tune of up to 75% of our caloric intake according to the latest advice outlined by the Department of Health and Human Services “MyPlate” guidelines.
The problem with this approach to human metabolism is that it only takes six days of excess fructose (fruit sugar) intake to activate the metabolic syndrome in the liver and about three weeks to shut down this biochemical pathway that is wreaking havoc on our health as a nation.
But, I need to return to central obesity. the problem is not just activation of the metabolic syndrome through excess carbohydrates in our diet. Data now show that the omega-6/omega-3 fat ratio in our diet is also important in causing central obesity. The more omega-6 fats (vegetable oils, nuts, processed foods, deep fried fast foods, corn and soy-fed animals, etc.) we consume, the higher this ratio. Omega-6 fat excess leads to worsening central obesity and omega-3 fat intake reduces this dangerous fat. The intake of these fats affects central fat deposits in addition to the metabolic syndrome described above.
To make matters worse, omega-6 fats are inflammatory and lead to increased risk of several cancers including: breast, colon, prostate, skin and gastroesophageal cancers as well as lymphomas in children. Omega-3 fats reduce these risks but, as I pointed out in another article recently posted, most of us are not consuming enough of this essential fat while we are taking in way too much omega-6 fat.
Additionally, fast food oils used in the deep fryer are deadly when they become aerosolized. They cause toxic buildup of a compound known as 4-hydroxynonenol (as well as several other toxic chemicals) that lead to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases (such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia) as well as rapid aging. These toxins are released into the air and inhaled as well as stick to any surface they come into contact with. Published studies reveal that lung cancer has doubled in nonsmokers in the past twenty years who are chronically exposed to these compounds.
When you visit a restaurant, you will often feel a tackiness to the tables and chairs from the bonds formed when these chemicals attach to the furniture. For those workers who are exposed in the same way as the tables, they are breathing those same sticky toxins into their lungs every day. Long term exposure is leading to lung cancer in many of them.
I recently found an article published in 1987 in the New York Times warning America about this risk and yet we have seen another doubling of lung cancer in nonsmokers since that report appeared over thirty years ago. The irony is that we were warned about the toxic effects of Trans fats back in the 1980’s as well, yet we are still consuming them. They are still found in the grocery stores and bakeries in many processed foods in the forms of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. What’s worse, now manufacturers are adding omega-3 fats that have been hydrogenated to stabilize these oils so that they will become rancid more slowly in the food and the food label does not even have to inform the public about this.
What are we to do? If we want to see true, lasting health care reform in this country, it starts at home, in the grocery store or at the restaurant. We need to correct our diet before we end up a statistic from the aftermath of the diseases that the Western Diet is causing in millions of us.
We live on diets today that are filled with excess carbohydrates (fruits and grains), fast foods, processed food and omega-6 fats while we are deficient in omega-3 fats. Then, we wonder why we are developing all of these medical conditions that now dominate the health care industry. The vast majority of health care dollars are consumed in the United States because of the diet-induced diseases we are producing in our bodies.
We are on statins to lower our cholesterol level; we take medications to lower our blood pressure, sugar-lowering treatment to manage our type two diabetes; we consume gout medications, acid reflux medications and anti-inflammatory medications. The need for most of these medications are directly related to our diet. If we could correct our diet, the need for many of these medications would vanish. I have seen this occur in thousands of patients that I have helped over the past decades.
Many of us fail in our quest to correct the nutritional mess we find in ourselves. The reasons for this are often multifactorial, but one of the overriding reasons is our need for personal coaching and accountability while trying to correct and sustain a healthy diet. I am only one person in this quest and my wife, Clare, is as enthusiastic as I am in trying to help individuals reach their dietary goals. She is a registered nurse who has also been providing nutritional guidance based on the science that I reveal in my books. She also coaches individuals and works to hold them accountable to succeed with their dietary changes. She has already helped some individuals lose over forty pounds while helping them reverse metabolic syndrome and central obesity.
If you think you might benefit from her individual assistance, find her on Facebook; Clare Lyons, Gig Harbor, Washington: www.facebook.com/clare.lyons.71 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a discussion with her. She works fulltime working with people in need of making major changes to reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and the like.
If you find yourself with central obesity, even if you are not overweight, perhaps my guidelines and/or her assistance could produce real health care reform in your body. Let’s get rid of this deadly fat and correct our nutritional health before we become a statistic. Good luck.
Dr. M. Frank Lyons