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The Lake News Online
  • Nutrition tip of the week: Are you an apple or pear person?

  • Most people know whether their bodies tend to store fat around their waists (forming an apple shape) or lower down around their hips, thighs and buttocks (forming a pear shape in women). But, did you know that where you store fat might be an indicator of our health and risk of future disease?
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  • Most people know whether their bodies tend to store fat around their waists (forming an apple shape) or lower down around their hips, thighs and buttocks (forming a pear shape in women). But, did you know that where you store fat might be an indicator of our health and risk of future disease?
    “Apples” tend to store fat in the belly. This deep visceral fat is considered to be more harmful because it is around our internal organs and is thought to release hormones than impair insulin receptors and creates chronic inflammation. Apples have higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers belly fat storage. Belly fat is linked to a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
    “Pears” store their extra fat under the skin on the hips, thighs and bottom. Health problems related to this type of fat storage aren’t usually life-threatening, but include things like cellulite, osteoporosis and varicose veins.
    If you aren’t sure what shape you favor, an easy way to tell is by taking your waist and hip measurements. Measure your waist at the smallest part or about an inch above the belly button. Then take a measurement at your widest part — either at the hips or at your thighs. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement. If that number is less than 0.8, then you are a pear; greater than 0.8 makes you an apple.
    The good news about being an apple is that you can lose weight easier and quicker than a pear shape. There are some specific diet and exercise tips that can help apples shed some inches off their waist and thus improve overall health. Just getting your waist size down to less than 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men significantly can reduce your risk for disease. If you are an apple, you should follow these tips.
    Choose complex carbohydrates. High-fiber foods are your friendly carbs and should make up about half of your daily calories. Examples include: wild and brown rice, whole grains, dark breads, buckwheat, quinoa, oatmeal, vegetables (but limit starchy ones like corn and potatoes), and fruits (limit extra sweet fruits like bananas, grapes and pineapple). Carbs should make up about 40 percent of your diet, or about 600 calories on a 1,500 calorie diet.
    Choose healthy fats and quality proteins. Examples include: lean beef, skinless poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, beans, and low-fat dairy. Use olive oil or flaxseed oil and incorporate avocados, nuts and seeds into your diet to help fight inflammation.
    Avoid refined carbohydrates. Stay away from sweets, including fruit juices, soda, sugars, candy, and ice cream. Avoid baked products that contain white flour like cookies, cakes, white breads, pastas and crackers.
    Skipping meals, especially breakfast, is particularly detrimental to apple shapes because this causes fluctuating blood sugars that can create insulin-resistance and trigger fat storage.
    Page 2 of 2 - Almost daily exercise is needed to help the apple shape lose weight. Alternate strength or resistance training with at least 45 minutes of cardio (running, biking, swimming) to get in six days of exercise every week. Apples tend to lack motivation to exercise and tend to get bored with it easily, so mix it up to keep it fun. Interval training can help burn more fat—exercise at a moderate intensity for 2-5 minutes, then crank it up for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat.
    Now, what about the pears? People with pear-shaped bodies have higher levels of estrogen. This makes your metabolic rate lower and thus harder to lose weight. Fat stored in the thighs, hips, and butt is always the last to give up. Women approaching menopause often find that their pear shape is turning into an apple. This is due to decreasing estrogen levels. Following are diet and exercise tips for the pears.
    Eat minimal fat. Stick to only the healthy fats and limit all fats. Use flaxseed oil or low-fat dressings for salads, and don’t over indulge on high-calorie, fatty foods like nuts and avocados. Avoid animal fats like fatty meats, butter, cream, full-fat milks, yogurts and cheeses. Fat is easily stored with minimal energy expended by our body. Carbs and protein use a little more energy to be stored as fat.
    Stay away from salty foods, like deli meats, pickles, chips and processed foods.
    Choose calcium-rich foods daily. Pears are at a higher risk for osteoporosis, so make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D.
    You should do strength training three times a week to keep your bones strong, increase your metabolic rate and tone your body. Work on sculpting and toning your upper body to balance out the lower half.
    You need about 30 minutes of medium intensity aerobics three times a week, preferably early in the morning to boost your metabolism. Favor workouts that put more pressure on your bones, like walking, dancing or biking.
    Remember that losing weight will make you a smaller pear, but you will still have the same basic body type.
     
    Anita Marlay, R.D., L.D., is a dietitian in the cardiac rehab department at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, Mo.

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