To get rid of the hated pot belly, you may have heard many tips, one of these is intermittent fasting, which consists in practicing fasting every other day. Before seeing you pale and emaciated, watching your roommate, partner or friend gorging on every delicacy at any time of day while you are looking at him with a hint of undisguised envy, I immediately reassure you. Intermittent fasting, despite what is said, is not a good way to reduce the localized fat around the waist. Maybe it can make you a little more nervous, but it won't give you a more slender silhouette. This is what emerges from a very recent study published in Cell Reports by a team from the University of Sydney (Harney et al, Cell Reports, 2021).
The researchers assumed that not all fat is the same, but it changes based on where it is located. They then tried to analyze what happens at the level of the various types of fat accumulation during a period of intermittent fasting. In particular, the scientists used an advanced analysis technique called proteomics, which consists of studying all the proteins present and how they can react to fasting. What emerged is that, normally, during fasting, body fat does what everyone would expect, that is, it provides the energy needed by the body for survival by releasing fatty acids. However, this does not happen in abdominal fat, on the contrary, this type of fat becomes resistant and increases its ability to accumulate energy in the form of fat. As if preparing for the next fasting period. And that is why, as suggested by scientists, visceral fat can withstand even a long period of dieting. The paper analyzed the consequences of intermittent fasting on visceral fat but says nothing about what can happen following other types of diets, such as calorie restriction. In any case, from what emerges, the way to fight pot belly seems to be quite another and does not involve strict and fasting diets.
The study in question does not ask about alternative methods to reduce pot belly, but here other research comes to help. For example, it has been observed that yoga practice, based on asanas such as the yoga position of fish, boat, cobra, locust, warrior and twists, helps reduce the waistline, as well as the body mass index and, another very important thing, increase self-esteem (Cramer et al, Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2016). Not only that, some food choices also help fight adiposity at the waist level, such as green tea, coffee but also curry and turmeric, thanks to the presence of polyphenols (Ohishi et al, Molecules, 2021). Also not to be forgotten are foods rich in carotenoids, especially lycopene, such as tomato and watermelon, and lutein, such as spinach, broccoli, lettuce, chicory and radicchio, capable of reducing visceral fat (Takagi et al, Nutrients, 2020).