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Facts About Belly Fat (how to lose lower belly fat)

by Dr. Jade Teta

1) Two types of belly fat are subcutaneous belly fat and visceral belly fat. Subcutaneous is the stuff you can pinch (often described as lower belly fat), and visceral is the stuff you can’t.

lower belly fat
lower belly fat

2) If you have a rock hard midsection and a protruding belly then you have visceral fat.

3) Visceral belly fat has a greater blood flow and is more responsive to catecholamines, your fat burning hormonal gas peddles.

4) Subcutaneous lower belly fat has a decreased blood supply and is less sensitive to the catecholamines.

5) Subcutaneous (lower belly fat) is more sensitive to insulin compared to visceral fat so it is more difficult to burn. This might need some explanation. Insulin works on fat cells by increasing fat storage and decreasing fat release. A fat cell that is more insulin sensitive only requires small amounts of insulin to shut down its release of fat. An insulin sensitive fat cell= a stingy fat cell that does not want to release its fat.** (see below)

6) Lower belly fat (subcutaneous) is more of an indication of leptin resistance while visceral fat is more an indication of insulin resistance.

7) Subcutaneous fat has more alpha adrenergic receptors (block fat release), while visceral fat has more beta adrenergic receptors (enhance fat release).

8. Diet and/or exercise will reduce visceral fat. Diet is more important to reduce subcutaneous fat.

9) Women have the most difficult time with saddle bag subcutaneous fat. Men have the most difficult time with love handle subcutaneous fat.

10) Green tea extract (EGCG) and coleus forskohli (forskolin) are two supplements that bypass the adrenergic receptors and therefore may help those having difficulty reducing subcutaneous fat (see Fat Burner Complex).

11) Visceral fat may be the remnant of the mammalian hibernation response in humans. It is stored close to the liver and drains right into the portal vein giving the liver quick access to fuel in times of famine.

12) Visceral fat is the one that releases all the inflammatory compounds and is associated with increased risk of metabolic diseases (heart DZ, diabetes, cancer).

13) Visceral fat is usually the first burned, while the subcutaneous fat is usually more stubborn.

14) Yohimbine HCL is a compound that can block alpha adrenergic receptors and speed subcutaneous fat loss.

15) Low carb diets also reduce the activity of the alpha adrenergic receptors and may speed subcutaneous fat loss.

16) There are actually two types of subcutaneous belly fat, deep and superficial. The deep is sort of a hybrid of the visceral fat and superficial subcutaneous belly fat.

17) Inflammatory compounds released from belly fat create a vicious cycle of insulin resistance and acts to continue to perpetuate and worsen the negative metabolic consequences of belly fat.

18) Belly fat is like a parasite doing damage to its host while perpetuating its survival. This is due to an enzyme in visceral belly fat that increases cortisol levels perpetuating its growth. Deep belly fat has 400% more cortisol receptors compared to subcutaneous fat. This enzyme is called 11 beta HSD and is definitely something to be aware of if you want to beat your belly fat. And guess which hormone stimulates 11 beta HSD? Insulin.

19) Curcumin, from the spice turmeric, may be a belly fat reducing aid since it blocks the enzyme fatty acid synthase (FAS), the nuclear receptor PPAR gamma, reduces leptin, and reduces the release of inflammatory cytokines. It also blocks 11 beta HSD, an enzyme that increases cortisol levels in deep belly fat perpetuating its growth. What does all this mean= decreased fat storage, decrease fat cell maturation, decreased leptin resistance, and decrease viscious belly fat cycle.

20) Salicylates, such as those found in herbs like white willow bark or medications such as aspirin, have an inhibitory impact on 11 beta HSD.

21) Exercising in a hot environment MAY increase blood flow to subcutaneous fat tissue and increase fat release. Should we bring back the neoprene abdominal bands?

** Note global insulin resistance is different than site specific insulin resistance. Fat tissue, liver, muscle tissue, brain can all be insulin resistant or insulin sensitive:

  • Insulin in brain= shuts off hunger= insulin resistance in brain= increased hunger
  • Insulin in liver= decrease glucose production (inhibits gluconeogenesis) and decrease glycogen breakdown (inhibits glycogenolysis)= insulin resistance in liver= increased glucose production and increased glycogen breakdown= high fasting blood sugar
  • Insulin in muscle tissue= increase glucose & fat uptake= insulin resistance in muscle= inability to burn fat and sugar
  • Insulin in fat cell= increased fat storage and decreased fat release= insulin resistance in fat cell= decreased fat storage and increased fat release

So, the ideal situation may be to remain insulin sensitive in muscle, brain, liver, BUT insulin resistant at the fat cell 🙂


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