Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Fat is a complicated matter and not all is created equal. Visceral fat, or belly fat, is the type of fat which lies deep with the body located near several vital organs. Thus, carrying too much of this type of fat increases a person’s risk of heart attacks or strokes. Sugar is equally a complicated matter with many different types. Experts strongly advise reducing the number of refined sugars in the diet to help burn belly fat.
Refined sugars are typically added to foods and beverages to improve taste.
One of the biggest problems with this type of sugar is that they’re considered empty calories because they contain virtually no vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, fibre, or other beneficial compounds.
Moreover, refined sugars are commonly added to packaged foods and drinks, including ice cream, pastries, and soda, all of which tend to be heavily processed.
In addition to being low in nutrients, these processed foods can be rich in salt and added fats, both of which can increase belly fat when consumed in high amounts.
Refined sugar intake is linked to conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Yet, it’s found in a variety of foods, making it particularly challenging to avoid.
Sugar is naturally found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and even nuts and seeds.
This natural sugar can be extracted to produce the refined sugar currently so abundant in the food supply.
Table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are two common examples of refined sugars created this way.
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Numerous studies have indicated that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to fat building up around your abdomen and liver.
Sugar is half glucose and half fructose. When you eat a lot of added sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat.
Some believe that this is the main process behind sugar’s harmful effects on health.
It increases abdominal fat and liver fat, which leads to insulin resistance and various metabolic problems.
Leptin resistance has been associated with increased body fat and circulating leptin levels, and the condition is believed to contribute to the onset and maintenance of belly fat.
Research has indicated that specific types of dietary sugars and fats are capable of inducing leptin resistance in experimental rodent models.
The results further show that diet-induced leptin resistance is capable of increasing energy intake and increasing visceral fat.
In particular, foods enriched with HFCS may cause you to become resistant to leptin, a hormone that signals your body when to eat and when to stop.
This may partly explain the link between refined sugar and obesity.
Refined sugars are added to many packaged foods.
Therefore, health experts often advise for a person to check food labels when trying to reduce the amount of refined sugar in the diet.
There is a wide array of other names which can be used to label added sugar.
The most common are high-fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, cane juice, rice syrup, molasses, caramel, and most ingredients ending in ose such as glucose, maltose, or dextrose.
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