I found this article very interesting and rich. The epidemic of growing belly fat is real and so when the writer, Steve Kirsch, a quora user sent in his answer to the question, i decided to share with you.
Read all about his experience below;
“This a GREAT question and sadly very few people can articulate the reasons for it.
“I do not claim to be an expert in this; I am answering from the perspective of a well educated MIT grad who has done extensive research and then successfully done it myself. I finally learned the secret(s); I went from pregnant to six pack in just 45 days (and no, these pictures were not exaggerated… sadly, that is how I looked as validated by my before/after DXA scans
“What I found was that there are basically 6 reasons belly fat is so hard to lose:
- Belly fat, once created is specially protected from being burned by alpha-2 receptors present in the belly fat. These receptors are like the palace guards: unless you know how to deactivate the alpha-2 receptors, you will fail to burn much belly fat. Deactivation methods that are the most successful combine fasting, yohimbine and/or rauwolscine, and low intensity exercise during the window (this is the only case I’m aware of where cardio (in the fat burning zone) is actually preferable to HIIT because it burns the fat during the limited time window). When I finally stumbled on this page, it all started to make sense as to why stubborn fat is so “stubborn.”
- Most people have no idea what causes new belly fat to be created. So even if you take advice to you lose body fat overall, you can actually still be gaining even more belly fat because you are still making horrible food choices that you are usually completely oblivious to. I know this because I was one of them. I saw my fat numbers drop on my DXA scans, yet my visceral fat was increasing! This was super frustrating. It wasn’t until recently that I watched Lustig’s video and learned the cause: excessive fructose consumption. When you eat too much fructose, the liver gets overwhelmed and stores the excess as visceral fat. If you eat fruits, that has fiber which slows down the digestion so the liver isn’t getting fructose faster than it can process. Most people don’t know what the fructose content of foods is since it isn’t called out on the label. So they drink orange juice, eat “sugar free” snacks, etc. all the while not realizing the havoc that their “healthy” food choices are making. They never realize their choices aren’t really healthy. So they do exercises and follow all the advice and nothing happens because they don’t know about fructose. So no surprise at all we have so many people with huge visceral fat problems. Relatively few people have seen the Lustig’s sugar video on YouTube. Even if you watch the entire video, you might still be fooled into thinking that maltitol, etc. is safe. Manufacturers are good at hiding the fructose in lots of different compounds that break down into fructose, making it nearly impossible for anyone to figure out the fructose content of food. So if the carb number is big, you must look at the ingredient list of what you are now eating because only a small part of the fructose in a food will be listed on the sugar line. And even then, it’s simply impossible to estimate how much of the carbs are fructose. You’ll be surprised at all the “sugar free” ingredients that break down to fructose. Sure, it may be “sugar” free, but that doesn’t mean crap with respect to fructose. “Sugar” is a specific disaccharide: half glucose, half fructose. So if you are slightly chemically different, you are “sugar free” and don’t show up on the sugar line. To make things even more confusing for people, sugars that have no fructose, also show up on the sugar line. For example plain yogurt will have 4g of sugar per serving, but it is all lactose which is completely free of fructose. It would be great to see a food proclaim “no fructose” but they don’t do that because we’ve done a poor job on educating people to the dangers of fructose. For example, fruit juices are all sugar, no fiber. So if you drink too much orange juice at one time, the fructose hits your liver all at once and you have a pretty good chance of overwhelming your liver and having your OJ (that you “thought” was “healthy”) turned into belly fat. Few people realize this. We have a huge education problem. But the best advice is simple to follow: eat real foods. If you do this one thing, we would have no belly fat in America.
- People try to desperately get rid of belly fat by starving thinking that for sure has do it. I can attest to this. I was one of those people. The more you under eat (like a caloric deficit over 20%), your body will burn muscle and add to your overall body fat and belly fat. The DXA operator told me that other clients who try starvation, or low calorie diets all end up with less muscle and more fat. You can learn a lot by talking to the DXA operator.
- I had just 2.5 lbs of belly fat looked 8 months pregnant because I’m otherwise lean. My belly fat was less than 10% of my total fat. So to lose just 1.2 lbs of belly fat in my case, you would need to drop around 15 pounds of body fat while at the same time doing none of the bad habits listed in #2 and #3 above. That requires a lot of discipline. Losing fat is actually easy: it can be done through diet alone: you have to restrain over eating, eating consistently at a 20% deficit and eating enough protein (and getting good sleep, etc). Healthy choices, logging everything you eat (like using MyFitnessPal), and discipline to stick to it are key.
- Hormone deficiency. I asked my doctor who is the fittest client he has who is over 50. He said there was one guy who looked extremely muscular. I called him and asked him how he did it. Answer: testosterone therapy through Renew Youth. Indeed, there is a correlation between waist size and testosterone. If you don’t have a balanced set of hormones, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. I verified my testosterone was super low and started on a hormone program. By boosting my testosterone to the high end of normal (and controlling estrogen conversion), I was able to add a lot of muscle mass in a very short amount of time (over 10 lbs in 45 days). It also helped that I am a relative newcomer to body building (your rate of gains slows the more muscle you add).
- Lack of knowledge. Most people will NEVER find this explanation (or an equivalent) from someone who has actually done it themselves. The people I pay the most attention to are the ones who have lost belly fat themselves. So the steps are basically not widely known so unless you happen to get lucky and read something written by someone who actually lost their own belly fat successfully, you will be left in the dark.
“The 6 things are the key things I think people need to know in order to successfully lose belly fat. It boils down to knowledge of how to do it and discipline to stick to the rules.
“In his video, Robert Lustig points out that this problem was all created by the US government declaring war on fat in 1980. Fat got replaced with sugar which is half fructose. He points out that NAFLD was rare before the government got involved. Now it’s an epidemic. It wasn’t until 2016 that we recommended sugar be capped to 10% of daily calories.
“This was a long, personal journey for me. I hope my write up will help many of the people reading this reduce their belly fat.”