Raena Morgan: Ann Louise, there is a phenomenon going on right now about belly fat. You see several books out about it, you know, it’s a real focus of a tension right now.
Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman: Well I think there’s a problem with belly fat, and we that it’s not aesthetically pleasing, number one.
ALG: Number two, it’s a signature of problems in terms of diabetes, so we want to be able to blast the belly fat as best we can.
RM: It’s not just cosmetic.
ALG: No, it isn’t just cosmetic. We don’t want to have a lot of fat in these very key areas right over here in terms of the abdomen; better to have it on your hips and thighs in terms of being a pear shape than an apple shape in terms of health.
ALG: But I think what’s really going on is that we’re a nation that’s under a lot of stress, and we do know that cortisol, as mentioned before, is a real trigger in terms of belly fat. If you’re eating the improper fats that are not helping your body to metabolize fat, that’s the GLA and one to two tablespoons of either fish or flaxseed oil or throw in maybe a teaspoon or two of olive oil, then you’re going to be demonstrating the belly fat phenomenon. And I think that as women get older, particularly as they’re menopausal and post-menopausal, they have a little extra fat in certain areas, which I don’t think is such a bad thing as long as your particular body fat in total doesn’t go more than I’d say 28 to 30 percent.
RM: Okay. But after menopause or during menopause there is that thickening of the waist.
ALG: There’s a little bit of thickening, and I don’t think that’s so bad because you’ve got to understand, you know, and this is hard for me to say because I’m at that stage of life myself, that you need fat in order to product estrogen. I see so many women that are so very thin with a body fat percentage that’s lower than 20 that their estrogen levels are so very low that they’re not thinking clearly, their cognitive abilities have really suffered, we’re seeing problems with their bones and so forth, so I think there’s a balance. So keep a little bit of fat, but just make sure that you’re doing your exercise, your stretching is exceedingly important, and getting into that core in terms of any kind of workout technique, I think, is vitally helpful, and of course reducing stress so that the cortisol level that precipitates that belly fat is obliterated. There was a study several years ago, I think the University of Southern Australia if I’m not mistaken, that showed that six grams a day, which is a little over a heaping tablespoon, of fish oil had the remarkable ability to target belly fat.
RM: Very good.
ALG: So we’re seeing how fats are our friends and not our enemies with regard to some of these conditions. And we also know that CLA to some degree, at least three grams a day, is able to target belly fat. I’ve seen some interesting studies with regards to men, to male adipose tissue surrounding the belly. So in terms of dietary direction, fat is where it’s at, and to get rid of it and to metabolize it you’re going to need the right kind of fat, so I might suggest at least a heaping tablespoon of fish oil, put it into a smoothie, great way to hide the taste if you don’t care for it, and at least three grams a day of the CLA will keep the bell fat away.
RM: So call out the good fats.
ALG: I’m seeing the good fats are exceedingly helpful with this, and it will stabilize your blood sugar so that you’re not craving a lot of the carbohydrates and a lot of the carbs that are going to pack on the pounds, particularly in that area. So it’s all about blood sugar regulation. What people forget is that fat is the most substantial nutrient in terms of stabilizing blood sugar. It’s not protein; it’s fat. It’ll keep you satisfied for a good four to five hours if you get the right kind of fat.
RM: Okay, excellent. Thank you, Ann Louise.
ALG: You’re welcome.
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