We’ve always heard the dieter’s motivational phrase ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips,’ but a recent study shows that this might actually be the case. Scientists found that fat gets stored in the waistline much faster than previously thought. The process occurs within hours of eating.
Two or three teaspoons of fat from our food will be stored around our midriff within three or four hours of eating. Consuming more food shortly after will make the fat build up without having a proper chance to mobilize away from that area of the body.
It was commonly believed among people and researchers alike that it was impossible to ‘become fat’ in a matter of hours, but the new research proves otherwise. The old belief was that fat from food was immediately transporting into the blood, where muscles could use it. The excess fat would either diminish or slowly gather in the tissue around the waist, hips, and legs.
But new research from Oxford University suggests a more complex and rapid process for fat storage. During experiments, volunteers consumed fat traceable around the body, which took about an hour to break down and enter the bloodstream. The blood droplets are then moved throughout the body and are quickly captured and stored. ‘The process is very fast,’ Fredrik Karpe, professor of metabolic medicine, said. ‘The cells in the adipose tissue around the waist catch the fat droplets as the blood carries them and incorporates them into the cells for storage.’
Another motivational idea dieters use is that eating earlier is better, and that statement might also have some truth. Researchers found that fat from meals eaten later in the day is more likely to be concentrated in the middle of the body. Only a small amount of fat from breakfast is caught as the blood carries the fat droplets, but the amount increases by 50 percent from dinner.
In a dinner with 30 grams of fat, two to three teaspoons of lard will rapidly gather around the waist. Luckily, most of this fat will later be used to feed our muscles. Yet, Professor Karpe from Oxford University warns that overeating may reduce our bodies’ ability to break down fat.
‘If you eat too much, you don’t get into this phase of starting to mobilize it,’ he said. ‘There will just be constant accumulation and you will start to put on weight.’
Eating too much can shorten your life and have other harmful effects. Former government adviser Dr. Margaret Ashwell said that fat around the waistline produces dangerous chemicals closer to the body’s vital organs.
Last week at the European Congress on Obesity, the secret to a long and healthy life was revealed: it is as simple as keeping your waist circumference measurement below half that of your height.