The body’s fat impacts their health differently depending on where it’s stored. While most fat found on other parts of the body are considered subcutaneous fat, belly fat is more likely to be visceral. Visceral fat is stored in a person’s abdominal cavity and is also known as ‘active fat’ as it influences how hormones function in the body. Having an excess of visceral fat can, therefore, have potentially dangerous consequences because it is so close to many vital organs, such as the pancreas, liver and intestines. Could a new way of eating help a person to banish this dangerous kind of fat?
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Chronic stress has been associated with a greater concentration of fat in the abdomen, primarily through the overproduction of cortisol, which has also been linked to higher mortality.
Due to our busy and demanding lives, many people eat their food too quickly and carelessly.
This may lead to weight gain and a whole host of other health issues.
Changing the way you eat could help you lose visceral fat.
Eating too quickly can cause weight gain with people who eat quickly tending to weigh more than those who don’t.
In fact, fast eaters are up to 115 percent more likely than slow eaters to be obese.
They also tend to gain weight over time, which may be partially due to eating too fast.
A person who is able to eat slower is also able to eat less. Eating less and feeling fuller quicker could therefore help a person to lose visceral fat.
A person’s appetite and calorie intake is largely controlled by hormones. After a meal, the gut surpasses a hormone called ghrelin, which controls hunger, while also releasing fullness hormones.
These hormones tell the brain that one has eaten, reducing appetite, making them feel full and helping them to stop eating.
This process takes about 20 minutes, so slowing down eating gives the brain the time it needs to receive these signals.
Eating slowly has been shown to decrease the amount of food consumed during the meal due to an increase in fullness hormones.
To eat slowly, a person needs to chew their food thoroughly before swallowing.
This can help them to reduce calorie intake and lose weight.
In fact, several studies have found that people with weight problems tend to chew their food less than people with normal weight do.
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What the studies say?
In one study, researchers asked 45 people to eat pizza until full while chewing at different rates – normal, 1.5 times more than normal and twice the normal rate.
The average calorie intake decreased by 9.5 percent when people chewed 1.5 times more than normal and nearly 15 percent when they chewed twice as much as usual.
Another small study noted that calorie intake decreased and fullness hormone levels increased when the number of chews per bite increased.
In a study with the Journal of Obesity, mindfulness intervention for stress eating to reduce cortisol and abdominal fat was investigated.
The study noted: “Psychological distress and elevated cortisol secretion promote abdominal fat, a feature of the Metabolic Syndrome.”
The study involved 47 women who were randomly assigned to a four month intervention to explore the effects of a mindfulness program for stress eating.
Mindfulness, psychological distress, eating behaviour, weight, cortisol awakening response and abdominal fat were all analysed.
Treatment participants improved in mindfulness and anxiety.
The study concluded that reductions in abdominal fat was noted when mindful eating took place. Eating and chewing slowly can help you to lose visceral fat.
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