The Big Fat Truth: Why Non-Fat Isn't the Answer
Fight the Flab
"The average person has 10 billion to 20 billion fat cells," says Philipp Scherer, PhD, director of the Touchstone Diabetes Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Researchers aren't sure what determines your number, but they do know genetics and lifestyle play a role. Eat too much for too long and your body can create new fat cells, says Susan K. Fried, PhD, director of the Adipocyte Core at the Boston Obesity Nutrition Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine. "If you lose weight, fat cells shrink, but they don't disappear."
To outfox your fat, follow a healthy, balanced diet of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. Do cardio and strength training regularly. And if you have belly fat, which research has linked to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, pick up your pace by doing interval training four times a week: Alternate two minutes of sprinting with 60 seconds of walking for half an hour.Feeling Like You Need a Fat Fix?
You may have a "fat tooth." The tongue has a receptor for fat, just as it does for sweet and salty, research shows. "The richness and creaminess of foods like ice cream and the texture of chocolate can make them irresistible to us," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. To curb your fat cravings, eat every three hours, advises Emily Rubin, an RD at the Jefferson Digestive Disease Institute in Philadelphia. "Munch on lean protein and fiber-rich foods, such as chicken and vegetables, which keep you feeling full -- and less likely to pig out."
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