Belly fat contains many serious health issues such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and risk of diabetes. But the stomach fat that sits deep between the organs (visceral fat) is directly linked to colon cancer, according to a new animal study.
Previous research has shown that abdominal obesity or belly fat strongly predicts cancer, obesity and even colon cancer, but Huffman wanted to prove whether visceral fat is directly related to colon cancer. “Since the relationship between obesity and disease first emerged, a more careful examination of body fat distribution has revealed that the risk posed by obesity in humans to disease and mortality is primarily harbored by the extent of visceral fat,” says Huffman.
“There has been some skepticism as to whether obesity per se is a bona fide cancer risk factor, rather than the habits that fuel it, including a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle,” study researcher Derek M. Huffman, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said in a statement. “Although those other lifestyle choices play a role, this study unequivocally demonstrates that visceral adiposity is causally linked to intestinal cancer.”
The mice were divided into three different groups. The first group of mice underwent sham surgery and were allowed to eat as much as they wanted, resulting in them becoming obese. The second group had an unrestricted diet as well but the visceral fat was surgically removed in this experiment. The third group underwent sham surgery as well but their calorie intake restricted. Since the third group of mice had a restricted diet their chances of becoming obese and developing colon cancer was significantly reduced.
When the mice were subdivided by gender, there were also significant differences in the relationship between intestinal tumors and visceral fat. The removal of visceral fat in female mice was greatly related to a reduction in intestinal tumors, but a restricted calorie intake was not. On the other hand, the male mice restriction on calories had a significant effect on intestinal tumors but the removal of visceral fat did not.
Huffman concludes that using a surgical approach of removing the visceral fat provided casual evidence linking visceral adiposity to intestinal tumorigenesis, independent of other confounders related to energy balance. Huffman says, “Further work on the underlying mechanisms will need to focus on a model in which the colon is the principal site of tumor development.”
The best strategy to lose belly fat and remove visceral fat in abdominally obese individuals is daily diet and exercise. This may be an important cancer prevention strategy as well as an adjuvant therapy for improving outcomes following a cancer diagnosis. Even if you are already overweight or obese, it’s not too late to start your diet changes and perform at least 30 minutes of physical activity today. Beginners can start off by walking at least 30 minutes a day with a friend to make it fun and check your progress every week. Start your weight loss efforts today and avoid any risks of developing colon cancer plus other serious health conditions that will affect your life!