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Diabetes and Belly Fat

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If you are diabetic, are overweight and have belly fat you may have a serious health issue. Most people are self-conscious about the belly fat they can see, but actually, the hidden fat that you don't see, called visceral fat, causes a bigger problem for everyone even if you are thin. People store most of their fat in two ways, the one you can see and the one you can't see.

The fat you can see is just under the skin in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen. That's called subcutaneous (under the skin) fat.

The fat you can't see is deep inside, it's around your vital organs such as your heart, lungs, digestive tract, liver, in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. It's called "visceral" fat. We all have visceral fat, and it isn't all bad. It provides a necessary cushioning around our organs. However, having too much of it is linked to a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer.

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If you are overweight or categorized as obese, your body can run out of safe places to store fat and begins storing it in and around the organs, such as around the heart and the liver. You are generally classified as obese when you are around 30 pounds over your ideal weight for your height.

Check Your Risk

An easy way to get a sense of whether or not the fat inside you is putting your health at risk is by getting a measuring tape and checking your waist size. For the minimal effect on your health, you want your waist size to be less than 35 inches if you're a woman and less than 40 inches if you're a man.

Having a "pear shape", that is fatter hips and thighs; is considered safer than an "apple shape," which describes a wider waistline. If you have more abdominal fat, it's probably an indicator that you have more visceral fat."

Do something about it

There are four keys ingredients to controlling belly fat: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.

Exercise: Vigorous exercises trims fat, including visceral fat. It can also slow down the build-up of visceral fat. Half an hour of vigorous aerobic exercise, done four times a week is ideal. Jog, if you're already fit, or walk briskly at an incline on a treadmill.

Moderate activity - raising your heart rate for 30 minutes at least three times per week - also helps. It slows down how much visceral fat you gain. But to get rid of visceral fat, your workouts need to be stepped up a notch.

However, if you are not active now, it's a good idea to check with your health care provider before starting a new fitness program.

Diet: In most cases when you lose weight on any diet, belly fat usually goes first.

A fiber-rich diet can help. If you eat 10 grams of soluble fiber per day, without any other diet changes you will build up less visceral fat over time.

Sleep: Getting the right amount of sleep definitely helps your eyes. In one study, people who got six to seven hours of sleep per night gained less visceral fat over 5 years compared to those who slept five or fewer hours per night or eight or more hours per night.

Stress: Most people tend not to make the best food choices when they're stressed. And when you've got chronic stress that can be a problem.

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Try to get social support from your friends and family. Exercising and meditating are excellent ways to handle stress. There are workshops and counseling sessions that can also help you with your stress. But exercise probably has the most immediate benefits to reduce stress because it works on obesity and stress."

Loma Mier is a caregiver and has experience with diabetes as she care for husband and herself. To learn more go to []

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