Nutrition

Focus on Fitness, not just body fat

By on February 20th, 2017

Fat is not just unhealthy and unsightly excess storage that needs to be battled. Fat is actually a vital organ that releases important hormones. A hormone called leptin is released from fat which decreases our appetite and accelerates our metabolism. Another hormone called adiponectin keeps our blood clear of harmful toxins and fat.

So where are leptin and adiponectin produced? In the fat under the skin in the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and arms. This is the fat we so eagerly combat. Instead, we should be focusing our fight on visceral fat, the fat in between organs and deep in the abdomen.

How can we reduce this visceral fat, which increases our chance of developing diabetes and heart disease? Doing intensive interval training (anaerobic exercise) three times a week and intermittent fasting have been linked with a reduction in visceral fat. By varying the intensity of exercise and doing weight training, you will decrease visceral fat. Also, prolong the overnight gap between meals to 14 hours or more and perform exercise in a fasted state in the mornings prior to eating breakfast to help get rid of visceral fat. Also avoid added sugar and alcohol since they are more likely to turn into visceral fat, and instead consume soluble fiber which is abundant in many vegetables and fruits and can be added to shakes by adding flax, chia, and hemp seeds.

As we go thru fad diets and lose weight temporarily, the levels of leptin and adiponectin are decreased prompting the body to regain fat by increasing appetite and slowing metabolism. So real weight loss requires a long-term approach to reset our body’s ‘norm’. This requires establishment of enduring good habits for healthy eating and exercise.

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Kamshad Raiszadeh, M.D.

Dr. Raiszadeh's completed medical school at UC San Francisco, orthopedic surgery residency at UC Davis and his Pediatric and Adult Spine Fellowship at the Hospital for Joint Diseases/NYU in New York City. He has 20 years of experience with the broad range of spine surgery including minimally invasive surgery, complex spinal disorders such as scoliosis and kyphosis, and cervical spine disorders. During this 20 years he has noticed a dramatic increase in patients turning to surgery for treatment of neck and low back pain, but many of them not getting their desired long-term result. He therefore became increasingly interested in improvement and standardization of non-operative treatment. By developing the best aspects of non-operative treatment in an atmosphere of empowerment to maximize the body’s own healing capacity, he noticed that many fewer patients required surgery, and the ones who underwent surgery had much better long term results.