Thursday, April 3, 2008

Higher belly fat increases risk for dementia!

Belly fat is toxic fat! When the fat is in your stomach it is in your organs, it's visceral fat, when it's in the hip area it's not a big deal in terms of your health, because it's subcutaneous (just under the skin). Research has shown that having more fat in your abdominal area, increases your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and this week a study published in the journal Neurology showed that it is also associated with declining brain function as well.

Using medical records, researchers examined the belly size of 6,583 middle-age people between 1964 and 1973 and then looked to see whether they were diagnosed with dementia an average of 36 years later. THE RESULTS: Just being overweight or obese nearly doubled one's risk of dementia in old age. Having high levels of central-body (tummy) fat increases the risk more, boosting an obese person's risk 3.6 times higher than a normal-weight individual with low belly fat. And, even people who were at a normal weight with high levels of belly fat showed an elevated risk of dementia. WHAT'S THE CAUSE for this association? Fat is known to produce a variety of potentially harmful substances that cause inflammation, disrupting blood flow to the heart and possibly the brain, which could be the link to dementia, but we don't know for sure.

Bottom Line: Focus on decreasing that belly fat, by moving more (aim for 6 times a week of 45 minutes of cardio (can break it up 15 minutes up and down some stairs, 15 minutes walking and 15 minutes dancing) and eating when you are hungry, smaller meals every 4 hours including high fiber carbohydrates (e.g., fruit, whole grains, starchy vegetables-yams, peas, butternut squash) and low fat protein (e.g., low fat organic dairy, fish, chicken/turkey breast, egg whites with 1 yolk, beans with some guacamole for good fat) at each eating time. Bring that glass (rather than plastic leaching) water bottle around with you wherever you go, keep sipping all day, a lot of times we think we are hungry, we may really be dehydrated. Enjoy LIVITING!

Your Livitician,

Deborah A. Klein, MS, RD

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