Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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We all have visceral fat in our bodies. Unlike subcutaneous fat it is stored deep within the belly. This is because it acts to protect and insulate organs.
While a certain amount is therefore necessary to our bodies, having too much visceral fat has been shown to increase the risk for various conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
So keeping the amount of visceral fat in your body to a minimum is advisable for your health.
One study has shown that what you drink could be to blame for how much visceral fat you have.
The research, published in The Journal of Nutrition, found that consuming soft drinks were linked to a higher waist circumference.
Specifically, a 100 calorie increase in soft drink consumption, which include things like lemonade and cola, can add an extra 1.1 centimetres to the waist.
As part of the research, academics from Spain and Mexico, analysed the data of more than 2,100 Spanish adults between the age of 25 and 74.
Their weight, height and waist circumference were measured in the year 2000 and questionnaires were used to record their diet and exercise habits.
Scientists then conducted a follow-up assessment 10 years later.
“The aim of this study was to assess the relation between consumption of nonalcoholic caloric beverages, including soft drinks, fruit juice, whole milk, and skim and low-fat milk, and changes in waist circumference (WC) and odds of 10-year incidence of abdominal obesity,” the study explained.
Those who drank soft drinks daily, compared to fruit juice and milk were shown to have larger waists.
It said: “A 100 kcal increase in soft drink consumption was associated with a 1.1cm increase in WC after 10 years of follow-up.
“Substitution of 100 kcal of soft drinks with 100 kcal of whole milk or 100 kcal of juice was associated with a 1.3cm and 1.1cm decrease in WC, respectively.
“Increasing consumption of soft drinks from baseline to follow-up led to WC gain compared with maintaining nonconsumption.
“Greater soft drink consumption was positively associated with increased odds of 10-y incidence of abdominal obesity.”
It added: “In the present study, daily consumption of soft drinks increased the risk of abdominal obesity by 76 percent compared with non-consumption.
“Furthermore, replacing whole milk and juices with soft drinks significantly increased the incidence of abdominal obesity.”
Researchers theorised why soft drinks have such an impact on the body.
The study said: “Among nonalcoholic caloric beverages, consumption of soft drinks showed the most consistent association with abdominal adiposity.
“Fructose derived from sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup was proposed to explain this link, although there is no conclusive evidence on the effect of fructose on weight gain and obesity risk.
“Beverage consumption is related to energy intake and diet quality, and soft drink consumption was associated with a less healthy lifestyle and higher caloric intakes.
“In the present study, soft drink consumers generally showed unfavourable lifestyle patterns characterised by low adherence to the Mediterranean diet, low leisure-time physical activity, and a high prevalence of smoking. However, adjusting for these lifestyle variables did not markedly affect our results.”
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