Excess pounds can cause arthrosis or cardiovascular problems, apparently even promote cancer. But "strongly built" does not mean that you are ill: the decisive factor is where the fat is located.

By Britta Probol

In order to feel fit and efficient, a slim silhouette is neither a prerequisite nor a guarantee. But it is also undisputed that too many pounds harbor health risks: from high blood pressure to fatty liver to life-threatening breathing pauses during sleep. But when do a few comfortable, perhaps somewhat annoying pillows become serious problems?

The "visceral fat" makes you sick

The belly fat has to go.

Our body has the formerly vital ability to convert excess food energy, for example from sugar, into fat in order to bunker the calories for bad times. It stores its calorie reserves in the subcutaneous fatty tissue (so-called subcutaneous fat), which also serves as an insulator against cold and heat. Most of the people recommend Bye Bye Belly Juice for unnecessary belly fat.

He then creates further depots in the abdomen: the so-called visceral fat envelops the internal organs. If there is a large excess of calories, the body can even store fat in the muscle cells, in organs such as the heart and liver (fatty liver) and even in the bones.

Lower abdominal fat produces pathogenic messenger substances

Doctors are particularly concerned about the so-called hip gold: In contrast to the "harmless" subcutaneous fatty tissue, the fatty tissue in the abdominal area produces hormones that cause illness. These messenger substances promote high blood pressure and underlying inflammation. Studies suggest that they even increase the risk of cancer. In addition, light fatty acids are released from the abdominal fat and enter the bloodstream: bad for the heart.

Anne Fleck: There are also thin, fat people

What matters is where the fat is located. Nutrition Doc Anne Fleck explains what is important and which fat makes you ill.

Getting Rid of Belly Fat: Eating right is crucial

In order to lose pounds permanently, the right dose of filling protein must be on the table, as well as more vegetables and whole grains - but little carbohydrates overall, and especially little sugar. Fiber is important because it fills you up and improves bowel function, explains nutrition doc Anne Fleck: "A healthy gut environment has a positive effect on weight."

One should not eat more, so the body consumes energy. But not permanently too little, i.e. far below the basal metabolic rate, explains Doc Fleck: "Otherwise the body gets into a bunker state, so it bunkers all the energy it can get." Intermittent fasting can be very effective in accelerating weight loss. To put it simply, during intermittent fasting the body is only put on energy withdrawal for an hour or for individual days. As a result, he switches to fat burning instead of throttling the basal metabolic rate. 

Losing excess weight: Sport alone is not enough

Weight loss support

A change in diet is easier in a team. Nutritionists or certified nutritionists support patients in the weight loss process, if necessary by temporarily prescribing a high-quality formula diet. "Anyone who has already made a few unsuccessful attempts to lose weight or has several different illnesses should definitely get professional help for the individual change in diet," advises Doc Fleck. The doctors can also check whether the pounds are falling in the right places. With bio impedance measurement (also called "bioelectrical impedance analysis" - BIA for short), they use electrical impulses to determine body composition, including water, fat and muscle percentages.

  • Specialized practices in nutritional medicine
  • Certified nutritionist (VDOE)
  • Dietitians (VDD)

Measure the success of therapy regularly

The bio impedance measurement is the "ECG of body composition". A special scale determines in seconds where and how much fat is located and how to get rid of belly fat fast.

Body fat scales for the bathroom use the same principle, but are far less accurate and cannot determine whether the fat is melting exactly where it should: in the abdominal area. "If you want to assess your risk of developing visceral fat, it's best to use a tape measure," advises nutritionist Jörn Klasen. The World Health Organization (WHO) urges women to lose weight from a waist circumference of 88 centimeters and men from 102 centimeters. "But caution is required even below these values," explains Matthias Riedl. "The danger zone starts from a waist circumference of 80 centimeters for women and from 94 centimeters for men." If symptoms such as high blood pressure or arthrosis occur here, the abdominal fat should definitely be reduced.

How to measure correctly

When: before breakfast, sober

How: standing, shirtless, exhaling

Where: in the middle between the bottom rib and the upper edge of the hip bone or at the thickest part of the stomach (about the height of the navel)

Waist-to-Height Ratio: Ratio of waist circumference and height

In contrast to the body mass index (BMI), the relationship between waist circumference and height is intended to provide information about the distribution of body fat. The waist circumference is divided by the height. Whether the result is in the critical range depends on age. From the age of 40 to 50, the critical value shifts upwards by 0.01 per year. At 40 it is 0.50, at 41 it is 0.51, at 42 it is 0.52 and so on.

The BMI depends on many factors

In order to assess the risk of illness, doctors, authorities and life insurers often work with the BMI (Body Mass Index). This schematic value has been established as a measure of overweight or underweight since the 1980s. Studies say, for example: A BMI over 25 means double the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and a BMI over 40 reduces life expectancy by eight to ten years. "The BMI has recently been criticized - rightly so," says nutrition doc Matthias Riedl, "because it completely ignores health factors such as muscle mass, fat percentage and especially fat distribution."

To calculate BMI, divide body weight by the square of height in meters. This does not always lead to meaningful results. Example: Two men in their forties, both 1.80 meters tall and weighing 85 kilos. One is very broad-shouldered and muscular, well-trained as a craftsman and athlete - the other, on the other hand, has a narrow build, with a broad waist instead of shoulders. The BMI for both of them is 85: (1.8 x 1.8) = 26.2 - that is, according to the definition, just about normal weight, taking into account their age. But are they really "okay" with the same weight? Calculated purely on the basis of BMI, bodybuilders would also be overweight. The BMI does not reveal how many fat pads a person has and, above all, where. These factors have a strong impact on health prognosis.