Visceral Fat; The Enemy Within

Visceral Fat; The Enemy Within

Fatty tissue is a normal part of our body composition. Our perceptions about fat are formed through our interactions with family, peers and the media. Fat is not the enemy. Our goal is to manage excess fat and make sure it is appropriately distributed.

The fat between our skin and our bones and muscles is called subcutaneous fat. It may be unsightly; It may cause embarrassment, but it is not dangerous.

The fat within our abdominal cavity is called visceral fat. It is the fat that surrounds our organs, (liver and stomach and intestines). An excess of visceral fat is associated with chronic disease and the acceleration of aging.

An excess of Visceral Fat is associated with a variety of chronic health conditions:

  •  Cardiovascular Disease: High Blood Pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, Elevated Blood Fats

  • Cerebrovascular Disease: Stroke and Vascular Dementia

  • Metabolic disease: Pre-Diabetes, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

 Visceral Fat and Aging

 ‘Visceral Fat accumulation is a hallmark of aging.'

Studies in animals have shown that there is no relationship to the metabolic changes associated with aging and subcutaneous fat. There is a direct relationship with visceral fat. The adverse effects of visceral fat on aging can be reversed with the reduction of visceral fat.

Visceral Fat accumulation increases adipokines, (inflammatory messenger molecules), and free fatty acids. This leads to insulin resistance, and this leads to chronic diseases.

 How do we measure Visceral Fat?

The best way to measure Visceral Fat is with MRI which can be very expensive. In our office, we use Impedance Body Composition analysis. Our equipment uses a scale from 0-20 for Visceral Fat.

The first goal is less than 10. The optimum goal is less than 5.

 How do we reduce Visceral Fat?

 Calorie Restriction will help with Visceral Fat Reduction. These are some examples that can be considered.

  • Reduction of total daily calories on an ongoing basis

  • Time-limited eating; no eating for 12 hours per day

  • The Five/Two Diet; moderate calorie restriction (500-700 calories per day), for one or two days per week with maintenance calorie intake on the other days.

  • Fasting Mimicking Diet; monthly or every other month until Visceral Fat comes into the desirable range.

 Exercise:

Regular moderate exercise such as walking for 30 minutes five days per week, cycling, strength training, and gardening are all useful in reducing total fat and visceral fat. The key to success is consistency.

Make up your mind to optimize your health. Take small steps, be consistent and don't beat yourself up for small relapses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fasting Mimicking Diet

Fasting Mimicking Diet

It has been 4 weeks since my last 5 day Fasting Mimicking Diet.

I realize I feel ‘thick'.   I don't feel as light as I did in the previous 3 weeks. My aching joints have been more prominent.  I am starting to miss the sense of feeling more youthful, lighter in body, mind, and spirit and overall healthier.

 I am going skiing in Utah next week with my brother. Bobby likes to ski hard and party hard.  I guess I will do another fast when I get back from skiing. I will be craving it by then.

Hunger is a Vehicle for Health and Healing

Hunger is a Vehicle for Health and Healing

It’s a Sunday morning, and I had the luxury of sleeping in.  Within minutes of arising and moving about, I began to experience hunger. This was an unpleasant biting hunger that was associated with a sense of anxiety/danger. I noticed that it lasted for less than 5 minutes and then drifted into the background of my awareness.

 I realized that this is the type of hunger an infant experiences as it becomes agitated and very vocal in expressing its desire to be attended to; in this case, fed.  Once this sharp hunger experience diminished, I went about my activities. This included walking my dog.

 I was now in a prolonged state of calorie deprivation, (more than 12 hours). I felt comfortable, clear and strong. The world outside appeared more dimensional and colorful despite the cloudy day.

 Hunger is a vehicle for health and healing. Going through the door of sharp/unpleasant hunger leads to a therapeutic state that has benefits to our general health and sharpens our perceptions in our everyday life.

Health and Aging

Health and Aging

Getting older is inevitable but, the quality of life and living is optional.  We are in control of the outcome.  Many people are happy if they are comfortable.  Maintaining comfort and avoiding pain is their focus which results in a limited life.  Others are desirous of a life in which they remain active, experience new challenges and continue to make contributions to their families and communities.  The ability to experience optimal health depends on the maintenance of flexibility and resilience at a physical, physiologic, metabolic and cognitive/emotional levels.

 Diagnosing and treating disease is a process which has evolved over many generations.  One crucial step is to identify the metrics that define optimal health and then provide support for one to achieve their goals in this regard.

 The principal therapies and support mechanisms offered by Integrative Medicine at Crossroads include diet, nutritional supplementation, herbal treatments, exercise, physical therapies, energetic therapies, and self-regulation therapies.

Diet is one of the most important ways to optimize flexibility and resilience on the physical, physiologic, metabolic and cognitive/emotional levels.

 Calorie Restriction and Fasting have emerged as important dietary practices to optimize Life Span and Health Span. 

 Variations on Calorie Restriction include:

  • Time Limited Eating: restricting food intake to 10-12 hours per day. You may have a snack at 7 pm and not eat again until 7 am.

  • Total calorie avoidance as in water fasting, (zero calories), for one or more days periodically.

  • Moderate calorie restriction, (500-700 calories per day), once or twice per week is a popular plan. The 5/2 Diet is an example.

 The Fasting Mimicking Diet is a plan where one restricts calories for 5 days. Pre-packaged meals are provided which literally mimics the effects of total fasting without the discomfort and exhaustion. The proportions and quality of Protein, Carbohydrate and Fats are carefully designed to produce an optimal result.

 The Fasting Mimicking Diet provides the best evidence for ease of use and optimal health outcomes.  This is a 5-day program; however, the beneficial effects last long beyond the five days. 

It is recommended to be under the supervision of a medical provider while doing this diet.  I suggest that it be done monthly until your visceral fat is reduced to the desired level and then be done every 2 to three months to continue to optimize the healthy aging benefits.

 Future articles will address:

The metrics for optimal aging applied to the individual

Implementation of different types of calorie restriction.

What to eat when you are not ‘fasting.’

Applying Integrative Medicine principles to optimize general health and aging with the best health possible.

 Please read “The Longevity Diet” by Valter Longo Ph.D.