Not all fat is created equal, in fact there is also a type of fat that is good and protective for health. Then, eating can help reduce the waistline. This is the synthesis of two fascinating scientific studies that come to perhaps unexpected results. But let's try to understand better.
There's also good fat, the study
The first research we're talking about today is also the most recent and in some ways the most surprising. The study was published in the journal Diabetes a few months ago by an American team from Augusta University (Stranahan et al, Diabetes, Feb 2023). Scientists have analyzed what happens to inflammation, especially in the brain, in the presence of a high-fat diet. Normally, in fact, it is known that such an unbalanced diet results in an increase in inflammation. The study analyzed mice but the results can also be extended to humans, as American scientists say. What has emerged is that, at least until menopause for females, the presence of subcutaneous fat, that is the fat that accumulates on the arms, legs, hips and buttocks, is protective and able to counteract the increase in waistline and of brain inflammation, even in the presence of a high-fat diet. However, removing subcutaneous fat, such as after liposuction or fasting, and then following a high-fat diet clearly shows an increase in inflammation in the brain. After menopause, even the presence of subcutaneous fat is not sufficient to counteract brain inflammation if the diet is kept high in fat. Finally, the study analyzed what happens when the subcutaneous fat is removed through liposuction in subjects of young age, before menopause, and who follow a low-fat diet. In this case there is a small increase in waist size, visceral fat and inflammation of adipose tissues. Therefore, what emerges from this study is that not all fat is to be demonized, on the contrary, it can even be beneficial to health when it is of the subcutaneous type located on the arms, legs, hips and buttocks, and that certain cosmetic surgery treatments or forced fasts should perhaps be reviewed in the light of these very important results. Furthermore, in general, it is always better to follow a balanced diet, without exceeding in fats and refined foods.
To reduce the belly … eat
The second study dates back to a few years ago and was published in the journal Obesity by an American team from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Hairston et al, Obesity, 2012). The strength of this study is that it literally measures visceral fat loss outcomes based on specific food choices. Scientists recruited 1114 people. The volunteers underwent medical tests to evaluate the presence of visceral and subcutaneous fat and filled out questionnaires in which they were asked to specify their daily diet and lifestyle. After five years the volunteers were recalled and underwent further medical tests to see if there had been any changes in body fat composition. Other questionnaires testified to any variations in nutrition. Well, scientists have measured that every 10 gram increase in soluble fiber introduced with the diet led to a 3.7% reduction in visceral fat over 5 years. 10 grams of soluble fiber is an easy to reach amount as part of a healthy and varied diet. For example, 10 grams of soluble fiber is found in two small apples, one cup of peas and one-half cup of beans. In general, soluble fiber is found in vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, potatoes, turnips, but also in garlic, onion, fruit, such as bananas and apples, cereals, such as oats, rye and barley, and legumes. It is noteworthy, also in the light of the results presented in the previous paragraph, that the increase in the intake of soluble fiber led to a reduction in visceral fat and not in subcutaneous fat. Finally, the action of physical exercise was also evaluated. In particular, a moderate increase in physical activity, introducing 30 minutes of physical exercise two to four times a week, led to a 7.4% reduction in visceral fat.
Today we analyzed two scientific studies that offer really interesting and unexpected results. First of all, the fat on the arms, legs, buttocks and hips that we often try in every way to fight, even when there is no real need, can prove protective for the brain. Then, that, in order to fight visceral fat, which is the most dangerous fat as it is capable of increasing inflammation levels, it is important to move and … eat, especially fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, just as the Mediterranean Diet teaches.