Soluble Fiber Appears Key to Trimming 'Bad
FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing daily soluble
fiber intake may help you lose dangerous visceral fat, which
produces hormones and other substances linked to a host of chronic
diseases, according to a new study.
Unlike the subcutaneous fat found just under the skin, visceral
fat is located deep in the belly and wraps around a person's vital
organs. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found the
way to hone in on this deep belly fat is to get moderate amounts of
regular exercise and to eat more soluble fiber from vegetables,
fruits and beans.
"We know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease," said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Kristen Hairston, assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist in a news release from the medical center. "Our study found that making a few simple changes can have a big health impact."
Researchers analyzed 1,114 black and Hispanic Americans since
those populations are at higher risk for high levels of visceral
fat as well as developing high blood pressure and diabetes. The
study, published in the June 16 online issue of the journal
Obesity, examined whether certain lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise habits, were associated with a change in the participants' belly fat over a period of five years.
Using CT scans to measure subcutaneous and visceral fat,
researchers found that increased intake of soluble fiber was
associated with a reduction in belly fat, but not subcutaneous
In fact, for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per
day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. In
addition, regular moderate exercise (30 minutes of vigorous
exercise two to four times per week) resulted in a 7.4 percent
reduction over the same time period.
So what exactly does a person need to eat to get 10-grams of
soluble fiber each day? The researchers noted this could be
achieved by eating two small apples, one cup of green peas and
one-half cup of pinto beans daily.
The study pointed out, however, that more research is needed to
explain the link between soluble fiber intake and reductions in
visceral fat. "There is mounting evidence that eating more soluble
fiber and increasing exercise reduces visceral or belly fat,
although we still don't know how it works," said Hairston.
"Although the fiber-obesity relationship has been extensively studied, the relationship between fiber and specific fat deposits has not," Hairston added. "Our study is valuable because it provides specific information on how dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, may affect weight accumulation through abdominal fat deposits."
The National Institutes of Health provides more information on
Copyright © 2011
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.