Belly fat increases your risk of: cardio-vascular disease. insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Looks may be deceiving.

What image comes to mind when you think of someone unhealthy?

More often than not, the common image tends to be of someone overweight. However, did you know that research has shown that even a thin person may be at risk, too?

The medical term for this is “MONW,” or metabolically obese normal weight. It means you may be lean but over fat, that is, you do not have enough muscle and too much fat (especially around the belly). So, it appears that it may be better to be fat and fit, rather than thin and out of shape.

According to the World Health Organization’s numbers, in 2014:
· More than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these, over 600 million were obese.
· 39% of adults, aged 18 years, and over were overweight, and 13% were obese.
· Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
· 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese.

In Singapore, according to the Ministry of Health survey in 2010, obesity has become a problem too. It revealed that 2 in 5 are overweight. The concern with this finding is the risk of diabetes. Overall, diabetes rates have risen, from 8.6 per cent of the adult population in 1992 to 11.3 per cent in 2010. This would have gone up to 12.9 per cent by 2015, said epidemiologists at the National University of Singapore. They study the patterns, causes and effects of health and disease conditions in the population.

It’s a double whammy when a skinny fat person is hit with diabetes. It seems that you would have twice the risk of death than if you were overweight when diagnosed with diabetes. Perhaps having that extra muscles on your body from having to carry around those extra pounds protects you.

Here are 7 suggestions you may consider if you are a skinny fat person.

1. Increase Your Protein
Start the day with protein and include at each meal. This kicks start your metabolism in the morning, let it run long and curbs hunger. Consider eggs, protein shakes, nuts, seeds, lean chicken, or fish.

2. Eat, not Drink your Calories
Avoid sodas, juices, sweetened drinks and no more than 3–4 glasses of wine or alcohol a week with meals.

3. Eliminate Processed Food
These are white flour and sugar, including gluten-free flour products; as well as food that contains a high amount of ingredients such as MSG (which may be hidden as “natural flavoring”), high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, preservatives, and chemicals.

4. Add Good Oil
Eat omega-3 fat-rich foods including sardines and wild salmon and avoid refined and processed vegetable oils except olive oil.

5. Keep Moving
Both cardio and strength training are key. Cardio builds fitness and improves metabolism, and strength training builds muscle which a skinny fat person needs.

6. Take Supplements
They protect you, lubricate the wheels of your metabolism and help burn calories. A good multivitamin, fish oil (EPA/DHA,) and maybe good quality ingredients that your meals cannot provide.

7. Protect Sleep Time
Sleep deprivation affects metabolism and increases cravings for carbs and sugar. Sleep is sacred. Allow your body to do its work while you are asleep. Aim to have 7 to 8 hours sleep every night.

If you would like to have a body composition analysis done, do reach out.

Adeline Heng