‘Abdominal fat is dangerous’ warns Dr Chris – could sleeping 4 hours or less be to blame?

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses abdominal fat

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People who sleep for less than four hours per night could be at an increased risk of developing visceral fat, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Visceral or abdominal fat is “dangerous” warned Dr Chris on This Morning. He explained: “Abdominal fat is dangerous, that’s why when you’r measuring your waist, if your waist is large, a lot of fat inside your abdomen, around organs such as the liver and the pancreas, and that central obesity increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.”

The new study follows advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that one in three Americans are not getting enough sleep every night. 

The findings were publsihed in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study gathered data from 12 healthy, non-obese, people between the ages of 19 and 39 for the study.

But Dr Chris commented on the research: “What they did is they looked at patients having four hours or less sleep a night and those that were having eight or nine hours sleep. And the ones that were having four hours sleep or less, they had increased abdominal fat.

“What gets me is, what did they do, did they make these people only have four hours sleep a night, I just don’t know how that study was organised.”

If a person has too much fat it can negatively impact their overall health.

People who look fit and healthy from the outside can carry excess visceral fat internally.

CT scans and full-body MRIs are the most precise methods to measure visceral fat, but many people use estimates based on waist circumference or waist size in proportion to height.

Scientists are still looking for answers as to what causes visceral fat build up.

To date, stress has been shown to have a significant effect on where fat is stored on the body.

But people who are overnight may also be at risk of having high visceral fat levels.

For people who are overweight, losing weight overall can help get rid of visceral fat.

The NHS has a number of tips to help people lose weight. The first of these is not skipping breakfast.

It advises: “Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. You could miss out on essential nutrients and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.”

Other tips include eating regular meals, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and exercising more.

Furthermore, the NHS recommends:

• Drinking plenty of water

• Eating high fibre foods

• Reading food labels to check calorie counts

• Using a smaller plate

• Not banning foods

• Not stocking up on junk food

• Cutting alcohol consumption

• Planning meals.

For more information on losing weight consult with a dietician.

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