Many people complain of excess fat around the stomach and one of the most common questions I get is, “How do I get rid of fat around the middle?”
This problem has been around for a long time, however, it really exploded into our consciousness when a supplement company claimed to have discovered the magic cure to this annoying problem. All of a sudden it’s as if we all looked down at our bellies and thought, “Where the heck did that come from?”
These supplement companies claimed that a nasty hormone in our body called cortisol caused the problem of belly fat. Cortisol is a hormone produced during times of stress, however, it’s not the “super-villain” that these companies make it out to be.
Cortisol is the chemical that gets you up in the morning. If you didn’t have enough cortisol, you wouldn’t have the energy to get out of bed. Contrary to popular belief, cortisol is actually a fat burning hormone. In a healthy body, cortisol causes the body to burn both fat and sugar. This makes sense considering the fact that cortisol floods the blood during times of stress (such as when a lion jumps out of the bushes). This then gives you the energy the flee or fight.
In the chronically stressed body, the cells lose sensitivity to cortisol. This can cause the cortisol to have the opposite effect-fat storage. The supplement companies would have you believe that the cortisol hormone is the only ingredient to the recipe for belly fat. Unfortunately, they are leaving out one important missing ingredient to that recipe…
In fact, if you can decrease the amount of this hormone that is circulating in your body, you can significantly decrease the damage caused by cortisol. The best news is that you have a great deal of control over how much of this hormone is floating around in your blood.
What is this super-villain hormone? There is only one hormone strong enough to control cortisol…insulin.
Insulin is considered the most potent fat storage hormone in the body, but cortisol has a unique ability to magnify this fat-storing quality.
Compared to fat found elsewhere on the body, abdominal fat has more receptors for cortisol and thus fat will preferentially accumulate in the belly area.
Although supplements can lower circulating cortisol levels, the fat cells of the belly have the unique ability to recycle used cortisol even when blood cortisol levels are normal. This means that you can develop belly fat even when blood cortisol levels are low.
Because fat cells can make their own cortisol, the best way to get rid of that protruding belly is to control the insulin production rather than trying to regulate cortisol with supplements. If you have to ask how to lower insulin, you haven’t been paying attention in Cut the Fat Class!