No time to ‘waist’ in fight against overfat pandemic

You may think a healthy body type is measured by the pounds you see on your home scale, or by your body mass index (BMI) as calculated in your doctor’s office. And while that may in part be true, there is another factor that needs to be considered – it is called “overfat.”
Overfat is a term coined by researchers writing in the journal Frontiers in Public Health to describe excessive body fat that builds up in certain parts of the body – particularly the belly – posing significant health risks. Overfat can affect people whose weight is considered normal; in fact, up to 50 percent of those considered to have too much overfat may have BMI measurements that are in the normal range.
The researchers point out that being overfat is directly associated with serious health conditions such as insulin resistance (a possible precursor to diabetes), high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and even cancer.
“The [study] results are staggering,” says Samantha Lynch, MS, RDN, LDN, a registered dietitian and nutritionist with a private practice in Vero Beach.
The study, consisting of a review of existing research, focused on 30 of the world’s most developed countries and found that the prevalence of overfat adults and children is “extremely high.” Alarmingly, the researchers concluded that 90 percent of men, 80 percent of women, and 50 percent of children in the United States carry excessive overfat, making it a “pandemic.”
“We have a significant body fat health crisis in our country and seeing these high percentages confirms its seriousness and prevalence,” Lynch says. She adds she was glad to see the study confirms BMI is not a reliable measure of excess of body fat, saying, “In the 10 years I have been practicing I have never used BMI to assess my patients.”
Paul B. Laursen, the lead author of the study and a professor at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, says, “As an unfulfilled public health action, it is crucial to clinically identify individuals who are overfat in order to implement successful treatment and prevention strategies.”
Belly fat – officially called “visceral” fat – is fat that surrounds the liver and other organs in the abdomen. Here are a few of the primary causes for the increase in this most-dangerous fat; some are more obvious than others:
  Sugary foods and beverages. High-fructose corn syrup is the primary culprit; sugar-sweetened beverages may be especially problematic, as they make it easy to consume large doses of sugar in a short period of time.
  Alcohol. Some studies have shown that alcohol suppresses fat burning and that excess calories from alcohol are partly stored as belly fat (think “beer belly”).
  Low protein diets. Diets low in protein are less filling, leading to an increase in calorie intake. Additionally, low-protein diets have higher levels of a hormone called NPY, which increases appetite and promotes the gain of belly fat.
  Inactivity. Even after intentional weight loss, a lack of activity can lead to the regain of belly fat; this can be prevented by exercise, either “resistance” (which forces your skeletal muscles to contract) or aerobic. Vero’s Lynch says, “Brisk walking for about 20 minutes a day after your biggest meal helps lower blood-sugar levels and can reduce your belly fat by 1 inch in about four weeks.”
 Stress. Stress itself can drive overeating, and it also causes an increase in the production of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol promotes the storage of belly fat.
 Not enough sleep. Studies have shown that short or poor-quality sleep may lead to weight gain, including the accumulation of belly fat.
Lynch adds that including more soluble fiber in your diet can reduce belly fat. “It helps you feel more satiated, therefore you eat less. It also helps to regulate blood sugar.” Top food sources of soluble fiber include beans, oat cereals, vegetables (Brussels sprouts and asparagus especially), fruit (oranges, apricots and apples are the highest in soluble fiber) and flaxseeds, which can be sprinkled on foods.
If you look at traditional BMI measurements, it appears that obesity rates have plateaued in the United States in recent years; however, rates of abdominal obesity have been on the rise. Abdominal fat is measured by waist circumference: the researchers advise that people measure their waistline and compare it to their height. A waistline that is 50 percent or more of height is an indication of being overfat. For example, in a man who is 5-feet-10 (70 inches), a waistline of more than 35 inches could be cause for concern.
Lynch has simple but powerful advice for the community: “Buy a tape measure if you don’t already have one, and check your waist circumference (measured at your belly button) monthly. This is a cheap, easy and much more reliable measure of detrimental fat than BMI or the number on the scale.”
Samantha Lynch’s office is located at 4445 Hwy A1A, Suite 239, in Vero Beach. She can also be reached via her website:  www.samanthalynchnutrition.com.

Comments

Canta September 14, 2017

Pretty terrible nutrition advice.

1. Sugary foods? Oh really? What foods on people’s normal daily diet are high in sugar but also low in fat and protein. Sure, many adults drink soda, but very few adults overeat sweets. Most adults overeat on fat and protein. High fat, high protein foods are making people fat. When you overeat fat, its stored as fat on your body. When you overeat sugar, the process is called De Novo Lipogenesis. This is not a metabolically efficient process. 30% of the calories from the sugar is required to convert the sugar to fat. It is incredibly hard to get fat from eat carbohydrates.

2. Low protein diets? Who has a low protein diet? Almost no Americans are on low protein diets, and the Americans who are on low protein diets are among the fittest citizens. What is the clinical term for protein deficiency? Oh right: there isnt one because there is no such thing. There are no first world people with a protein deficiency. The RDA for protein for an adult is around 50 grams, most americans eat double that, or more. What a joke. And the old canard about “filling.” I guess you are basing that on the ancient and debunk “satiety index” which was developed by the dairy industry. guess what? In actual science, it was proven the most filling food is a potato.

This is scandalous misinformation by a dietician. Clearly Dr. Lynch is not well versed in modern nutritional information, or has an agenda to promote. Her overweight patients come to her after eating the standard american diet of high fat and high protein foods which got them obese, and her solution is to eat more high fat, high protein foods. She ought to be ashamed.

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