This Article is About
bones
bone mineral density
hips and thighs
abdominal organs
moderate exercise
Of Bones And Beans: Visceral Fat Is Back In The News
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Of Bones And Beans: Visceral Fat is Back In the News

Visceral fat is the deep fat that lies around the abdominal organs, the kind of fat that is more dangerous than the subcutaneous fat that sits around the hips and thighs. Science has long known that visceral fat is potentially more dangerous to health than other fat int he body, but now there might be more to be concerned with.

First the bad news: obese women are actually at an increased risk of osteoporosis than originally believed. The old thinking was that the extra body fat protected women from the bone damaging condition and actually kept their bones healthier. New studies have shown that an increased level of internal body fat not only damages bone health in general but dramatically raises the risk of osteoporosis. That visceral fat was shown in an increase in the fat found in the bone marrow of the major bones of the body in addition to a decrease in the bone mineral density. Those two factors together can spell big bone trouble for the average woman.

There was no change in either bone marrow fat levels or the bone mineral density in women whose fat was concentrated in the subcutaneous levels of the body.

And now, the good news: visceral fat, long thought to be nearly impossible to lose once it had accumulated, has now been found to be easier to get rid, thanks to a new research study. Kristen Hairston, M.D., an assistant professor of Internal Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical center was the lead researcher and author of the study that looked at how moderate exercise and an increased intake of soluble fiber affected visceral fat, especially in certain populations. Just over 1000 people took part in the study, each given a physical exam, a lifestyle survey and a CT scan to evaluate their visceral fat levels at the beginning of the study and then once again at the end of it, five years later.

The study found that with just a ten gram increase in soluble fiber each day, visceral fat could be decreased by just under four percent per year and that if moderate activity was included, there was a decrease in the amount of visceral fat that would be later accumulated. The study defined moderate activity as any vigorous exercise lasting at least thirty minutes done two to four times each week.

Ten grams of soluble fiber is relatively easy to add into the average diet and can include: two small apples, one cup of green peas or a half cup serving of pinto beans just as examples. The researchers suggested boosting the amount of fruits and vegetables as well as beans in the daily diet.

Visceral fat, in addition to increasing the risk of osteoporosis also increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and fatty liver disease, all conditions which are not only chronic but can be life threatening as well.


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