Are You Utilizing the Power of Soluble Fiber to Reduce Belly Fat?
If you are trying to lose weight you may not care which part of your body, it is lost from. You may be surprised to discover that fat has the more potential to increase your risk of death and disease depending on where it is stored.
The type of fat which is linked to chronic disease and increases your risk of death is the type of fat located around your central, abdominal region. This is called central adiposity. This type of fat is located around the organs of your body, which can disrupt their ability to function and cause you poor health outcomes.
Your lifestyle choices play a role in determining your levels of fat stored in your abdominal region. This includes if you are a smoker, your physical activity levels, how much alcohol you drink and your diet. A new study investigated these factors to determine if they were linked to a decrease or increase in abdominal fat.
Researchers followed 1,625 individuals aged between 18 and 81 years of age for a study duration of 5 years. A CT scan of the abdominal region measured the subcutaneous fat, or the fat found just under the skin and visceral fat, the fat which is location around your organs was measured using a CT scan at the start of the study and after 5 years. A food frequency questionnaire was used to record dietary habits and physical activity was self-reported.
It was found that the more soluble fiber a person consumed, and the more individuals participated in vigorous exercise the less visceral adipose tissue was present after 5 years. This association was not affected by a person’s BMI. Researchers found that after the 5 year study, for every 10g increase in soluble fibre there was a 3.7% decrease in visceral adipose tissue. In addition, the more energy expended over a day was linked to a reduction in accumulation of visceral adipose tissue. This research provides exciting new insights as while there is a well-known link between fiber and a reduction in obesity the exact areas of fat deposition and fiber is not as well studied.
Lifestyle habits to take home from this study include the importance of including enough plant-based foods. To get fiber in our diet we eat foods which have a matrix of different nutrients and fiber types. One of these types of fiber found in plant-based foods is soluble fiber. Plant-based foods to include in your meals and snacks each day include whole grains and whole grain containing foods like Corn Thins slices, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans. To include more soluble fiber in your diet aiming to fill your plate with three quarters a plant-based food is a healthy habit.
Take home message: The role of fiber to support your optimal health and wellbeing is extensive. This research adds another potential benefit to add more fiber, specifically soluble fiber, to your diet. Reducing the amount of central adiposity, and specifically visceral adiposity, is important to promote your overall health and wellbeing. To help you live a long and healthy life.
- Hairston KG, Vitolins MZ, Norris JM, Anderson AM, Hanley AJ, Wagenknecht LE. Lifestyle factors and 5-year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: the IRAS Family Study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012 Feb;20(2):421-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.201171. Epub 2011 Jun 16. PMID: 21681224; PMCID: PMC3856431.