Diet and Exercise Keep the Invisible Fat Off Too

Some doctors now believe that internal fat surrounding vital organs could be as dangerous as more obvious external fat.

What's more, people who maintain a slim appearance through diet alone, without exercise, are likely to have major deposits of internal fat. As one doctor put it, "Being thin doesn't automatically mean you're not fat."

Doctors are concerned that those without the clear warning signal of exterior fat may be falsely assuming that they are healthy. In fact, they still could be at risk for diabetes or heart disease.

Researchers who scanned some 800 male and female patients with MRI machines that plotted internal fat maps found that as many as 45 percent of women and 60 percent of men with normal BMI scores (20 to 25) had excessive levels of internal fat. Researchers even found "TOFIs" (people who are "thin outside, fat inside") who were professional models.

Yahoo News May 11, 2007

USA Today May 17, 2007


Dr. Mercola's Comment:

For some time now there has been a sense that body mass index (BMI) may be a far less accurate barometer of your health than you think -- for example, many athletes (especially weight trainers and football players) have scores similar to patients who are grossly overweight.

The takeaway message here is that there are no shortcuts when it comes to maintaining your optimal health -- diet and exercise are both essential, and merely being thin is no guarantee of being healthy if you are still making poor lifestyle choices.

Even conventional doctors are beginning to understand that a nutritious diet combined with the right amount of exercise goes hand-in-hand in building and maintaining a patient's optimal health. Eating the food your body burns best, according to your unique nutritional type, while at the same time maintaining a prescribed exercise program, will do wonders to get you there.

I encourage my patients to gradually increase the amount of time they are exercising until they reach 60 to 90 minutes a day. Initially, the frequency is daily, but this is a treatment dose until you normalize your insulin levels. Once normalized, you will only need to exercise three to four times a week. You can get started by reviewing my beginner's exercise page.

There is abundant new scientific evidence that clearly demonstrates there are enormous benefits to interval-type exercise. I now firmly believe that although endurance cardio training is important, it really needs to be part of a more comprehensive program that includes short bursts of activity at very high intensity that is individualized for your specific fitness level.

The new evidence suggests that this may actually provide MORE protection against heart attacks than long, durational aerobic-type exercises.

Another major benefit of this approach is that it radically decreases the amount of time you spend exercising, while giving you even more benefits. It would be wise to have clearance by your physician if you are not in good shape before embarking on a program like this. However, you could start simply by walking and progress at your own pace.

But, this is a technique that should help nearly anyone who uses it.

The take-home message?

Don't rely solely on cardio. You will need to incorporate interval-type training along with strength training to develop a far more rounded and comprehensive exercise program.

You will be very pleased with the results and perhaps even more pleased with the free time you have if you have been a slave to hour-long cardio workouts.

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