Trying hard to reduce that burgeoning waistline? Following a heart-healthy diet that is rich in fibre and low in saturated fats could be the key to weight loss and reducing belly fat, suggests a study. While dieting may help fight abdominal obesity, the ones that are popular on the internet, including intermittent fasting, high-protein diets, the “Paleo” diet, and green tea, all lack high-quality evidence. None of them have shown to be effective over other types of energy-restricted (reduced-calorie) diets, the researchers said. “There is still no miracle diet, food, nutrient, or bioactive component that will target abdominal fat,” said Kari D. Pilolla, from the California Polytechnic State University.
But a heart-healthy diet that is high in fibre and low in saturated fats is a great way to prevent and reduce abdominal obesity, Pilolla said, in the paper published in Health and Fitness Journal. Diets that particularly have lower intake of trans and saturated fats and higher intake of fibre appear helpful in reducing or preventing abdominal obesity.
“These recommendations are consistent with heart-healthy diets like the (US) NIH-developed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean-style diet,” Pilolla said.
She said that independent of body weight, a larger waist circumference increases risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. These risks are mainly related to visceral adipose tissue — fat stored below the abdominal muscles, surrounding the major internal organs. Visceral adipose tissue appears to be more “metabolically active” than subcutaneous fat, stored under the skin but above the abdominal muscles.
Pilolla also recommends health and fitness professionals to assess and monitor abdominal obesity in their clients, and to evaluate their cardiometabolic health risks.