How Old Does Your Gut Make You?

Our numeric age is quite simple. It’s based on revolutions around the sun. 20 revolutions around the sun, you are 20 years old. Unfortunately, fat can add years to your functional age. For example, take your age. Add 20 years. This is the effect of an oversized gut, according to a study by UCLA. An overweight 20-year-old college student could be functionally 40 years old. A 40-year-old could have a body age of 60 years old. And so on…

Why does the fat affect you so badly?

Dr. Jeff Volek, an Associate Professor in the #1 ranked Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut, explains:

Fat can actually act like an endocrine organ, secreting numerous hormone and hormone-like substances – called adipokeines – into your blood stream. In fact, scientists have identified more than 50 different kinds of adipokines, many of which are harmful. One is called resistin, a hormone that leads to high blood sugar, and independent risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. There’s also angiotensinogen, a compound that raises blood pressure, and interlukin-6, a chemical that causes arterial inflammation. What’s more, a landmark discovery was the finding that an adipokine called retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) caused insulin resistance and diabetes. While drug companies are now racing to find methods to lower RBP4, we showed in a recent study that a low carbohydrate diet reduced levels by more than 20 percent. In the same study, we found that a low-fat high-carb diet increased RBP4.

What should you take away from this study? If you are a 20-year-old and you have a 40-year-old “body age”, you have some time to work with making those necessary behavior changes. However, if you are a 50-year-old and have a 70-year-old “body age”, there needs to be an elevated sense of “urgency”, especially since the CDC announced in 2012 that the life expectancy for an American in 2012 was 78.8 years. (Female is 81.2 years and male is 76.4 years).

What are you to do?

Understand that having an oversized gut will add 20 years to your current age. Excessive amounts of fat produce many hormones which will affect blood sugar and insulin resistance. (Refer to The Odds You Will Have Diabetes In 10 Years: What Is Healthy?)

When people were put on a low carb diet, not only did the hormones (resistin and RBP4) reduce by 20%, the people on a high carb diet increased their RBP4. Focus on consuming a low carb diet as well as releasing body fat will reduce your age.

Cut the fat, cut your age!


Steven Zahn

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