Lifestyle
Mind & Body: The Future
Health & Fitness

Got more belly than you'd like?

-- It's worth noting that no exercises or diets specifically target belly fat—despite the promises of many infomercials. As Dr. Samuel Klein, professor of medicine and nutritional science at Washington University School of Medicine, explains, you can't shed any fat from your mid-section unless your entire body is losing weight.

Aerobic exercise can remove fat from your belly and elsewhere, he says, but sit ups and crunches will only build up abdominal muscles, not remove fat. Toned abs are fine, of course, but they won't do a person much good if they're covered in fat, he says.

-- However, in the future, it might be possible to trim visceral fat with the help of a pill. The drug Egrifta is already FDA approved to remove fat in people infected with HIV. (A bulging stomach is one of the side effects of anti-HIV medications.)

In February, Dr. Steven Grinspoon, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the program in nutritional metabolism at Massachusetts General Hospital, reported that the drug, which promotes human growth hormone, also seems to work on people without HIV. In a study of 60 overweight subjects, the drug reduced waist sizes by about 1 inch in six months. "That may not sound impressive, but it was all visceral fat," he says.

 

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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