Your diet, especially when it is high in wheat and refined carbohydrates, significantly impacts the collection of fat around your stomach. It is important that you eat a healthy diet emphasizing wiser wheat selections, such as whole grains, in order to prevent the accumulation of fat around your stomach. It is still important to remember that carbohydrates are essential in your diet, and wheat can help you meet your nutritional needs.
Health Risks of Fat Around the Stomach and Abdominals
The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide shows that when excess weight is carried around your abdominals, your health risks increase. Fat that gathers on top of your abdominal muscles behaves like fat on the rest of your body, but fat that accumulates between your organs inside the abdomen can be problematic. This fat increases the load of free fatty acids on the liver, and the fatty acids can accumulate in the pancreas and around the heart. This can cause organ problems, including heart dysfunctions. Treatment for this type of belly fat includes weight loss and changes to the diet.
Wheat and Carbohydrates
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans show that carbohydrates provide 45 to 65 percent of your daily caloric intake in a healthy diet. Wheat is a primary source of carbohydrates, an important nutrient used by the body to obtain glucose. It provides important nutritional value like fiber, folate and B vitamins. You can consume wheat from pasta, bread, crusts, couscous and cereal. These are excellent sources of carbohydrates, but they can be the primary source for refined carbohydrates.
Whole Grains Versus Refined Grains
Refined grains are crushed or ground, and the wheat kernel is sifted to remove the tough outer hull. This process yields a lighter, sometimes sweeter, ground wheat, which is ground and refined into flour. The flour that results is most commonly used in manufacturing and baking. Unfortunately, the refining process that makes white flour so delicious removes the kernel, which provides most of the valuable nutrients in wheat. Refined wheat flour and its products are fortified to return some of the nutrients removed during processing. Whole grain flour and products are less refined, and they often have a chewy, grainier texture. The whole kernel is retained in the product, so the naturally-occurring nutrients, like B vitamins, are already present.
Wheat and Stomach Fat
Refined grains have been associated with increased caloric intake. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans show that many Americans consume foods of low nutrient density, where foods provide calories but relatively few vitamins or minerals. This is the chief issue with products made from refined wheat grains. Excess calories can lead to fat storage. When the fat is stored around the stomach, the risk of developing health problems increases.
While wheat can have a significant effect on fat around the stomach, it is important to live a well-rounded lifestyle that includes regular exercise. Following dietary and exercise guidelines will work in your favor if you are concerned about stomach fat.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Katcher, et al: Effects of a whole-grain enriched hypocaloric diet...
- American Heart Association: Metabolic Syndrome
- Metabolism: Radhika, et al: Refined grain consumption
- Harved Medical School Family Health Guide: Abdominal obesity and your health
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005: Adequate nutrients within calorie needs: Table 2 Comparison of selected nutrients