By Michael A. Smith, MDDiabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar. The consequences of the disease can be devastating — heart attacks, stroke and nerve disorders to name just a few. New research shows that a risk factor of diabetes is the size of your waist.
Here’s the point we want to make: A large waist size, even with a normal body mass index, strongly predicts development of diabetes. So it turns out that the most commonly used body measurement, BMI, can be misleading.
A Large Waist Predicts Diabetes RiskResearchers measured the waist size and BMI of close to 30,000 middle-aged people and followed them for 17 years.1 The researchers discovered that overweight people with a large waist, defined as over 40 inches for men and over 35 inches for women, had a greater risk of developing diabetes than obese people with smaller waists.
Overall, the researchers discovered that, although both measurements were associated with type 2 diabetes risk, it was the size of a participant’s waist that was the most predict of future diabetes.
Based on their results, the researchers believe that for women waist size is more useful than BMI for predicting diabetes. The researchers used various analytical tools to measure the link between diabetes, waist size and BMI. After analyzing all of the data, one thing stood firm: diabetes risk was more closely associated with waist size than with BMI.
What makes waist measurements so po werful in predicting diabetes is that it can distinguish between muscle and fat. Waist circumference is only measuring belly fat. By the way, this is where BMI fails as it cannot distinguish between fat and muscle. Additionally, many health experts believe there is a link between waist size, belly fat and many other age-related diseases, like heart disease.
Why is belly fat and waist size so predictive of diabetes? The authors believe that "visceral fat surrounding the intestines produce a lot of hormones, which have implications for making the body resistant to insulin and can contribute to inflammation.”
Soluble Fibers Help Reduce Waist SizeLosing belly fat is best accomplished though diet and exercise. Eating fewer calories and burning more will force your body to make up the calorie deficit by burning stored body fat. The good news is that the visceral fat around your intestines and organs — the fat implicated in producing hormones that lead to insulin resistance — readily burns itself when energy is needed.
But we understand that sometimes people need some additional help. This is why we also suggest increasing your intake of dietary fiber — specifically soluble fiber. This is a type fiber that can act like a sponge in your intestines and soak up excess sugar and fat calories.
The end result is fewer calories into your system. And a calorie not absorbed is like a calorie not consumed. Sources of soluble fiber include:
- Oat bran
- Lentils and peas
- Apples and pears
- Flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds
- Walnuts and almonds
- Dried peas
In a placebo-controlled human study, those taking propolmannan before meals lost 5.5 pounds after eight weeks without changing their diets. The placebo group in this study showed no significant weight loss. The propolmannan group also showed reductions in blood lipid/glucose levels.3
So the bottom line is all about your waistline: Keep it slim. Belly and visceral fat, which make your waist big, are hormone producing, insulin destroying enemies of healthy blood sugar. The end result can be devastating to your health. Luckily, the solution is simple. Fiber!
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