Why it is harmful and how to get rid of it

Prof. Froboes, does your belly get extra fat during the Christmas season?

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A kilogram of fat contains about 7000 kilocalories. You’d have to eat quite a lot over the three days of Christmas to put extra weight on the scale.

You usually don’t gain weight between Christmas and New Year. The problem is more likely to occur between New Years and Christmas, so you don’t have to force yourself to count calories during the holidays. Last but not least, Christmas is also a time of joy – we should allow it. However, you should always take breaks from exercise so that the fat does not fall out of your hands.

Fat is not just fat – what’s the difference?

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In fact, fat isn’t just fat—it comes in many different forms. White fat is mainly found in the belly and storage areas. And brown fat is energy fat, which is mostly found in the shoulder and neck area, it even integrates with white fat in places. Recently, we know that there is even beige fat, which is found in white fat and is designed to produce heat, but also to produce energy. White fat is the problem, especially when it’s in the belly.

Why are these fats so dangerous?

White fat is a problem because the abdomen contains many organs: white fat can suffocate, encircle and crush internal organs. These are also hormonally active fats, that is, they release hormones such as estrogen. And accumulates toxins. Last but not least, it changes our body composition as a whole – especially when there is too much fat and too little muscle mass.

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Men face the problem more often – why?

Yes, men face this problem more often because they have storage in the stomach area. For women, on the contrary, thighs, hips and buttocks. Evolution designed it in such a way that it does not interfere with the pregnancy of women. Men who walk a lot while hunting should have their legs free. This is why men are disproportionately burdened with belly fat: thin legs, fat belly.

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Why doesn’t body mass index (BMI) say anything about belly fat?

Finally, BMI cannot take muscle mass into account – it primarily records the ratio of body weight to height. But it all depends on metabolism.

How do I know if belly fat is my problem?

For this, you need to take the waist circumference as an indicator – you measure it at the height of the navel. This becomes problematic for women at around 88 centimeters and for men at 101 centimeters.

Professor Ingo Froboese is head of the Center for Health through Sport and Exercise at the German Sports University in Cologne.

Ingo Froboese is University Professor of Sports Prevention and Rehabilitation at the German Sports University in Cologne. He is the head of the Institute of Movement Therapy and Movement-Oriented Prevention and Rehabilitation.

What can be done about dangerous fats?

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Exercise and diet are the two main things. Movement here especially means muscle training, as increasing muscle mass is the best strategy. And when it comes to nutrition, that means not eating too much, but also not eating too little. The body’s energy has to do enough to maintain the basic functions of the body. In addition to not affecting the jojo effect. It is also important to eat breaks: it is better to eat three times with a break of four to six hours. Because the main problem is this constant occupation: the body only has to accumulate it and does not have the opportunity to burn energy.

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So it’s not just about fat in the end.

I agree to. This is building muscle mass to change body composition, meaning a healthy ratio of fat cells to muscle cells. Therefore, building muscle is always a metabolic focus.

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