‘Your product does not work,’ he complained. ‘I took your Omega-3 for a month and my belly fat didn’t go away.’
The Crossfit fitness community has several followers who take large amounts of fish oil in hopes of losing weight and reducing exercise soreness.
I’ve written that fish oil does not reduce cholesterol. Let me add another item to the Does-Not-Do list: melt away belly fat.
Fish oil does not reduce belly fat.
There are fish oil brands that are sold as part of a weight loss program. Sure, combining exercise with fish oil helps support a healthy metabolism, but Omega-3 by itself will not make stubborn belly fat go away.*
Psst…want to know a REAL weight loss secret?
There are several reasons why people become obese. Overeating and laziness are usually blamed. These are not the #1 and 2 reasons.
Having helped many people shed pounds, I’d rank ‘what you eat’ as the #1 reason for obesity. In my experience, it’s slightly more important than ‘how much you eat,’ given you are consuming reasonable quantities of food.*
Back to insulin…
If you look at most successful, popular diets, regardless of how contrary they seem on the surface, they all help you lose weight by doing one thing: reduce insulin levels.
South Beach Diet
All successful diets reduce your insulin level
How? By reducing or eliminating sugar and processed, refined carbohydrates.
Sugar, refined carbs and starches all get converted to the same things in the body – sugar.
Since the body is not capable of storing large volumes of sugar, you need to either burn it or store it as fat.
Eat a bagel? You’d better spend at least an hour on the treadmill after eating it or the carbs get broken down into sugar. And sugar will need to get stored.
Enter insulin. Your pancreas releases insulin to start the process of packing away sugar and starches as fat. This makes your fat cells bigger.
You cannot get fat without a big helping hand from insulin.
Eat pizza and beer? Well, your pancreas has to crank out a LOT of insulin to keep you from going into hyperglycemia, a dangerous situation. If you’re a teenager, your body can handle this. (Teens today have much higher insulin levels than a generation ago.) But if you’re not a teenager, well, keep reading…
As more sugar gets stuffed into storage as fat, you gain weight. The heavier you get, your body becomes less sensitive to insulin. In other words, your cells become deaf to the insulin trying to store fat. So the pancreas has to crank out even more insulin to get the cells to listen.
Insulin does two things that affect your weight:
- It helps pack away calories (as fat.)
- It keeps your stored fat from being burned. It keeps fats cells in lock-mode.
That second point is a real bummer.
This basically means that even if you’re starving, your stored fat reservers won’t be tapped for energy if your insulin level is high.
If you want to burn fat, you need to unlock your fat cells so its contents can be burned. If you have high blood insulin levels, that fat isn’t going anywhere. Fat cells remain locked and you will have a very hard time losing weight.
Cut out sugar, cut out refined and processed grains. Heck, why pull punches. Cut out grains altogether, especially wheat. Wheat is fantastic at raising your blood sugar and subsequently insulin.
Short video on Insulin Response with Dr. Peter Attia
A somewhat simpler explanation from ‘Fat Head’
How do you know what your insulin level is?
Well, you need a blood test.
But there is a simpler way to predict what it’s going to be. Measure the blood sugar that is going to trigger insulin release.
Measuring blood sugar is easy. Go down to the corner drug store and ask the pharmacist to help you choose a blood sugar test kit. A little pin-prick and you measure the sugar level in your blood an hour and two hours after each meal or after that 100-calorie light snack of ‘healthy whole grain’ goodness.
If your blood sugar is higher than 120 after 1 and 2 horus, then chances are your insulin levels are high. If it is over 140, talk to your doctor, you may be diabetic or pre-diabetic, in which case, you have bigger problems.
This is a really, really easy way to find out what you can and cannot eat. Cut out whatever jacks up your blood sugar.
My guess: this technique will rule out most sugary, starchy, carby stuff. Chances are, non-starchy vegetables, meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil and butter will not budge your blood glucose levels much.
If you do this, your fat cells will get ‘unlocked’ and fat that you’ve been storing for a long, long time will finally be able to be released and burned for energy.
Don’t be shocked if you lose a LOT of weight this way.
Losing weight is nice.
So back to our caller who said OmegaVia did not reduce his belly fat.
Want to reduce belly fat?
Cut out sugar and grains and in its place, add healthy fats and protein.
A little Omega-3 doesn’t hurt, but fish oil by itself won’t get rid of belly fat.
Image credit: Geo Cristian
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.