Exploring Body Fat Dynamics in Men

Exploring Body Fat Dynamics in Men

Just like women, men undergo a natural aging process that results in a decline in metabolism, slowing down the number of calories burned. Additionally, most men experience a decrease in testosterone levels, which, combined with potentially reduced physical activity, leads to muscle mass atrophy, making it even more challenging to burn calories. This, in turn, leads to the prevalent issue of many men consuming more calories than their daily requirements, leading to an undesirable surplus of body fat.

When we consume more calories than we burn through physical activity, our body stores the excess calories as fat. There are two types of fat: subcutaneous fat, which is the pinchable fat that is visible around the waist, and visceral fat, which is more dangerous as it is located internally at the waist level and surrounds vital organs like the liver, pancreas, and intestines.

Despite constituting only approximately 10% of total body fat, research indicates that elevated levels of visceral fat correlate with an increased risk of several cardiovascular disease factors. These encompass elevated blood pressure, heightened blood sugar levels, and elevated total cholesterol levels.

Methods of Body Fat Measurement

Accurate measurement of visceral fat traditionally involves Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), although the associated costs often deter widespread use. An alternative approximation is Body Mass Index (BMI), calculated using height and weight. It is important to note that BMI does not consider ethnic variations and cannot differentiate between weight derived from muscle and bone mass.

A more practical and accessible gauge of visceral fat is the measurement of one’s waistline. Generally, a waist circumference exceeding 40 inches in men indicates an excess of visceral fat. It is crucial to remain vigilant, as even a modest weight gain of three to five pounds, enough to shift the belt buckle by a single hole, may escalate over time, intensifying the risk of accumulating higher visceral fat levels.

Strategies for Fighting Belly Fat

Effectively reducing visible and unseen fat requires a comprehensive approach that includes aerobic exercise, strength training, and a balanced diet. It is important to note that visceral fat may respond more slowly to intervention. While weight loss primarily targets subcutaneous fat, only about one-third of the lost weight comprises visceral fat. 

To combat abdominal fat, it is recommended to combine 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-to-high-intensity aerobic exercise two or three times a week with two weekly weight or resistance training sessions to increase muscle mass. This combination is effective in burning calories and accessing stored visceral fat.

The type of aerobic exercise you choose can be flexible as long as it raises your heart rate enough to make it difficult to talk. Including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in your aerobic workouts can make them more effective. HIIT is short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by periods of rest or low-intensity recovery. This form of exercise is highly effective in burning calories and improving heart health. It is recommended to seek the guidance of a personal trainer to create a customized HIIT program that is safe and effective.

It is important to adopt a healthy, plant-based diet along with regular physical activity. Adequate protein intake is vital for building muscle mass. The current recommended daily intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, for many aging men, that recommendation is likely too low. A better recommendation would be to increase protein daily intake to 1.0 to 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight to help preserve muscle mass. For example, a man who weighs 195 pounds would convert his weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing his weight in pounds by 2.2 (195 divided by 2.2 is 88.6 or 89 kilograms). Therefore it would be advisable for that man to consume between 89 to 107 grams of protein daily. 

You can get protein from various sources such as fish, poultry, lean red meat, beans and lentils, Greek yogurt, and protein powder in different dietary forms. These sources contribute to a holistic approach in addressing body fat concerns.

Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncolo gy and prostate can cer 911. 


Exploring Body Fat Dynamics in Men
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Dr. David Samadi