If you have a fat belly, you may be at greater risk of developing insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Learn more about the link
between excess belly fat and diabetes, and find out how, if you’re at risk for diabetes, diet and exercise changes may help.
Belly Fat: A Diabetes Risk
Fat that accumulates around your organs, also called visceral fat, seems to present a greater danger to the body than subcutaneous fat that is deposited around the hips and thighs. While fat cells that lie under the skin store energy, they don’t have many other complex functions. However, unlike subcutaneous fat cells, visceral fat cells lie deep inside the abdomen, pad your internal organs and seem to have a more direct effect on how your body functions.
One possible side effect of this excess belly fat is insulin resistance. If insulin resistance develops, blood glucose levels can rise, increasing a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Losing a Fat Belly: A Diabetes Diet
There are no specific exercises that can make a fat belly go away. However, the same exercise and diet changes that can help you lose other forms of fat can reduce belly fat. Diabetes risk drops if a person can lose weight by engaging in at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise each day. Strength training may also help.
Healthy food choices can also lower your risk of diabetes. Diet changes such as the following can help you reduce a fat belly:
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and lean protein.
- Drink water instead of alcohol or sugary soft drinks.
- Reduce your intake of saturated fats, like those found in fatty red meats and trans fats.
- Increase your ratio of healthy fat intake, like the ones found in salmon, avocados and nuts.
Fitness Weight Loss. (2010). Abdominal fat and diabetes connection — Is it a lie? Retrieved January 14, 2011, from http://www.fitness-weight-loss.com/blog/abdominal-fat-diabetes-connection-is-it-a-lie/
Harvard Health Publications. (2006). Abdominal fat and what to do about it. Retrieved January 14, 2011, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it.htm
Health.com. (2008). Why getting rid of belly fat may lower type 2 diabetes risk. Retrieved January 17, 2011, from http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20188164_1,00.html
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Diabetes diet: Create your healthy eating plan. Retrieved January 17, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-diet/DA00027