As discussed earlier fat cells serve a purpose to capture excess lipids from the plasma and liver. Fat cells also serve as repositories for toxins. A group of toxins that are ubiquitous in our environment are endocrine disrupters, including but not limited to estrogen like compounds such as pesticides, polychlorinated hydrocarbons and organochloride pesticides. Fat acting as sink holes to these toxins will turn stress the liver causing the biochemical duties of the liver to become impaired.
Fat cells that act as sink holes for toxins and lipids will eventually become insulin resistant causing plasma and liver lipids to increase leading to additional fat cells, known as ‘stubborn fat’. The belly is the usual area for stubborn fat to be deposited. These ‘stubborn’ fat cells manufacture hormones. In women adipose tissue tends to produce more testosterone resulting in increased hair growth where ladies usually do not grow hair (e.g. face). In men, the tissue produces more estrogen often resulting in gynecomastia or “man boobs.”
We have learned how fat functions as an energy source and its protective roles as repositories for toxins and excess lipids. But, how do we regain homeostasis where the body can get rid of its excess fat caused by its protective roles which can lead to insulin resistance that causes hyperlipidemia, diabetes and cardiovascular problems, such as hypertension. In other words, we can regain functionality of our biochemical processes mentioned above through our lifestyle and diet, allowing for efficiency where glucose is transported into the cell, having fatty acids move out of adipocytes and oxidized for energy; and, exercise programs that reduce belly fat.
An anti-inflammatory eating plan, increasing physical activity, stress reduction or elimination, and limiting exposure to environmental toxins will go a long way in the battle against belly fat. A training regiment can be coupled with carbohydrate and calorie restriction. While low carbs will reduce insulin, decreasing its anti-fat burning role, calorie restriction will cause inward energy reserves in the form of fat to be expended. However, long term restriction of calories and carbs will actually impact thyroid hormone which in turn will cause a sluggish metabolism. In effect the basal metabolic rate is reduced, reducing any effort for weight loss.
Temporary states of low insulin and negative energy balance will occur by alternating between days of high and low carbs as well as days with overeating and under eating. Please refer to the following URL address to learn more about carbohydrate cycling for fat loss:
A training demand to use red slow twitch and white high twitch muscle fibers through power, speed and endurance exercises coupled with temporary states of low insulin and negative energy expenditure will increase fat loss. The energized, low stress and properly rested body will have the basal metabolic rate increased, requiring energy demand that needs carbohydrates and fat for fuel. Increase fat demand will prevent the accumulation of lipids in the blood and liver.
Additional health tips to minimize/control fat is explained by Ori Hofmekler, science behind physical transformation2
- “ Establish temporary states of negative energy balance (when more energy is spent than consumed) through periodic underrating and exercise, forcing fat to break down as fuel for energy.
- Cleansing the body through periodic fasting, additionally using foods and herbs to neutralize and remove toxins, eliminating the reason for fat to serve as a storage for same.
- Exercise using strength, speed, and endurance drills, helping the body to resist accumulation of serum lipids, preventing insulin resistance and fat gain.
- Avoid meats from animals treated with hormones and antibiotics. Avoid toxins that are estrogen disrupters as well as estrogen promoting foods, herbs and alcohol. This will help prevent hormonal disorders, over estrogenic activity, loss of virility and stubborn fat gain in men and women.
- Avoid chronic calorie restrictions and crash diets which will help prevent fat gain rebound and metabolic decline.
- Avoid ketogenic diets that involve extreme carbohydrate restrictions which will help avoid low thyroid, sluggish metabolism, and metabolic resistance to fat loss.
- Taking cold showers or swimming in cold water will promote a thermogenic effect (via uncoupling proteins) that, besides increasing body heat, will increase the rate of fatty acid mobilization for energy and overall fat loss.
- Avoid chronic stress (such as over training combined with chronic stress or lack of rest) and insufficient nutrition to prevent adrenal exhaustion with decrease responsiveness to fat-burning stimulation and resultant sluggish metabolism and fat gain.”
The best laid plans can fail if we do not understand what triggers hunger. The “hunger hormones”, are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone, made by fat cells, that decreases your appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite, and also plays a role in body weight. Levels of leptin — the appetite suppressor — are lower when you’re thin and higher when you’re fat. “But many obese people have built up a resistance to the appetite-suppressing effects of leptin, says obesity expert Mary Dallman, PhD, from University of California at San Francisco.6
“Leptin helps signal the brain that the body has enough energy stores such as body fat. But many obese people don’t respond to leptin’s signals even though they have higher levels of leptin. Are there ways to control our “hunger hormones,” and thus rein in our appetites? Possibly — by avoiding high-fat foods. But researchers have shown that either a diet rich in either “good” carbohydrates (like whole grains) or a diet high in protein suppresses ghrelin more effectively than a diet high in fat. Something that might help (and certainly won’t hurt) is to get enough sleep! In a study of 12 young men, sleep deprivation was associated with an increase in ghrelin levels, appetite, and hunger compared with when they slept 10 hours a night.”
Last, when you lose weight, what kind or kinds of fat do you shed? “You’re losing white fat,” Dr. Fried tells WebMD. “People tend to lose evenly all over.” 7 The results change a bit, however, if you add workouts to your calorie reduction, she says. “If you exercise plus diet you will tend to lose slightly more visceral fat from your belly.” The job of white fat is to store energy and produce hormones that are then secreted into the bloodstream. Small fat cells produce a “good guy” hormone called adiponectin, which makes the liver and muscles sensitive to the hormone insulin, in the process making us less susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. When people become fat, the production of adiponectin slows down or shuts down, setting them up for disease, according to Dr. Fried and others.
1Guyton, A.C.,MD, Hall, J.E., PhD. Textbook of Medical Physiology. 11th Edition. 2006.
2Hofmekler, Ori. Maximum Muscle, Minimum Fat. North Atlantic Books, Berkley, California 94712. 2008.
3Clark, R. National Federation of Professional Trainers Reference Manual.1996; 6th edition revision, 2014.
4 Rind, B., MD. Assistant Professor Howard University College of Medicine, 2015.
6 WEBMD. Your Hunger Hormones. Weight-Loss Clinic, 2005-2006.
7 WEBMD. The Truth About Fat. Weight Loss and Diet Plans. Susan Fried, PhD. 2009