Discover the top 5 ways to burn belly fat through the lens of functional medicine in our latest podcast! Dive deep into holistic approaches focusing on root causes, addressing hormonal imbalances, gut health, and nutrition.
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In this episode, we cover:
01:25 – Insulin and Blood Sugar Levels
05:12 – Inflammation
10:18 – Interval Training
15:13 – Eat enough so you are satiated: Proteins and Fats
18:12 – Intermittent Fasting
20:54 – Summary
Hey guys, Dr. J here. Today, we got a live podcast. We're going to be talking about the top five causes of belly fat and things that you can do to assess and actually reverse the underlying cause of that visceral adiposity. So I'm excited to share with you this. We're going to have this on a video format as well. I'm going to have some slides on here, maybe doing some drawing to kind of interact with you guys a little bit better. So if you want, if you're listening to on podcasts, we'll put the video link down below, or you can check out the YouTube channel at youtube.com/justinhealth or on Rumble as well.
All right, guys. So let's dive in. Love to see your comments down below, love to see your thoughts on the topic and thumbs up, give us a share, give us a thumbs up. Again, any friends or family that could benefit, please shoot it over their way. So out of the gates here, the top five ways to burn belly fat. We're going to go into some of the big ways out of the gate. Again, we're going to hit again insulin, blood sugar levels functional glucose tolerance. We're gonna dive into different lab testing, whether it's CRP or inflammation testing, and some assess estimates that you can do at home. The CU is fit for Optimal Health and Aesthetics. Talk about some exercise options here. I'll go into deep, we'll talk about hormones and macronutrients, and we'll go into intermittent fasting and different variations on that front as well. All right, let's dive in here out of the gates.
So first thing, insulin and blood sugar matters, okay? Insulin is a storage hormone. It's going to open up these cells to allow protein and amino acids to get into the cell, which is good for anabolic metabolism, healing, and recovery. Bodybuilders will even use insulin, you know, post-workout to help with healing and recovery and getting additional amino acids into their muscles as well. Now, blood sugar matters too. Now we can see chronic high blood sugar is going to be the reason why you're making lots of insulin because that blood sugar from your food.
So food comes in in carbohydrate, carbohydrate gets broken down either into glucose, fructose, high fructose, which is a combination of 55-45 fructose to glucose. Again, glucose gets metabolized more in the muscles, fructose gets metabolized more in the liver. Fructose has the capacity to make you more insulin resistant, partly because you have the reservoir of the liver first, and so you're more prone to get a fatty liver when you're consuming lots of fructose. Now fructose from fruit, not quite the same thing because you get a lot of nutrients, a lot of fiber. The fructose that's unbound, meaning it's free in a free form, such as high fructose corn syrup, that's going to be more problematic.
Okay, again, glucose from safe starches that goes to the muscles, you're going to use that for fuel first. You have about five to six times more of our storage reservoir for glucose than you do for fructose. So fructose is going to be the insulin-resistant kind of agent. So we can look at fasting insulin, we can test it, we can see what's going on with fasting insulin. So a couple things here, let me do a little drawing for you guys. Let me know if you guys like the drawing, let me know. Okay, so insulin out of the gate, we want this to be under, I would say less than seven is ideal. That's key.
There was one study, it's called the A to Z study by Christopher Gardner out of Stanford. He found that people who had insulin over seven, they really truly needed a lower carbohydrate diet. People that insulin less than seven, they could get away with more carbs. So what does that mean? The more insulin resistant you are, the more the macronutrients and restricting carbohydrates matters. That truly, truly matters. So that's really important. The next is glucose. Now glucose is important because, or should I say, blood glucose is important because if you consume a lot of glucose, you're going to need insulin to bring it in. And so insulin is a pain in the butt marker to get tested. Costs money, gotta go to a lab. You can do glucose testing at home. And so you can do this, for instance. I'm going to pull this color up here.
We can test your blood sugar at baseline. So this is zero, we have not eaten a meal. Okay, and we can look at it out one hour, we can look at it out two hours, and we can look at it out three hours. And the goal is we want to be, if this is, let's say, 140 up here on the high side, and this is back below 100 over here, we want the blood sugar to not go. We want it to go like this, all right? So back to below 100 within three hours, ideally two hours. So the better you are, the faster you'll be able to have it come down. So really important, ideally we want it like more like this, we want it more like this, okay? That's really important because the faster our blood sugar goes down, this is an indirect marker of insulin, the better our insulin is, that gives me a really good indication of what's happening there.
So next, we want to look at inflammation because if we're consuming lots of crummy carbohydrates and lots of junk up here, it could drive us inflammation, right? Drive more inflammation. What is inflammation? Inflammation is an accelerated breakdown of body tissues. So whether it's proteins, connective tissue, muscles, the more inflamed we are, the more we're going to actually allocate anti-inflammatory hormones like cortisol to the top, and we're going to decrease the allocation of anabolic hormones, reproductive hormones, testosterone, growth hormone, progesterone, estrogen, we're going to decrease those. We may even create estrogen dominance, women, partly because progesterone can go downstream to become cortisol, thus increasing estrogen and progesterone ratio, relatively speaking.
So really important on that front. So you can really cause some problems on that side of the fence. So you want to be very, very aware of that. So that being said, it's good to look at how your cortisol rhythm is doing. We want to make sure your cortisol is on the right track. Typically, cortisol should be something like this. We should see your cortisol in the morning here. If this is our bedtime here, this is bedtime right here, bed, you know, this is morning. Our cortisol should be like this, and there's an inverse relationship between cortisol going down and melatonin goes up. Melatonin is like this, and it goes up at bedtime. This is the sleep hormone, this is the stress hormone. So we want to have that nice high level, the cortisol in the morning to wake us up, to help with inflammation, help with mood.
The big thing we want to be careful of when we're looking at cortisol is we want to make sure we don't have these aberrations of cortisol up and down, up and down, because this could impact mood, you could be high in the morning, low in the afternoon, high in the late afternoon, low at night. So we want to look and make sure we don't have these big aberrations. That matters a lot because mood, stress, inflammation, all of these things make a big difference. So we want to make sure that we're on top of that. That's huge. So outside of that, we want to really look deep in all these different things, okay? Really good.
Now blood tests, CRP is a good one. All right, hs-CRP, we want it to be less than one, ideally. I just had a patient come in greater than 10, right? So inflammation matters. It means our tissues are breaking down. When you're inflamed, you have to look at your physical stress, you have to look at your emotional stress, you have to look at any chemical stressors coming in from food to toxicity, what's in your water, pesticides, processed inflammatory foods, food allergens like dairy, like processed flowers and grains, and excess omega-6 and trans fats. So we want to be less than one, ideally.
Again, hs-CRP gives you the ability to look less than two. Typically, cardio CRP, it tests, I think two to three and up. So it won't really give you those fine-tuned lower numbers. So run an hs-CRP because it'll give you everything. And then golden ratio is nice to look at. For men, in the golden ratio for women is just the opposite. So let me just draw that out so you guys can see that. So I'll draw the men in blue here. So typically it's like this. This is the shoulders, this is the waist right here. And essentially we're having a shoulder, this is the shoulders up here, this is the waist and essentially we have 60 percent bigger, I shouldn't say we have 1.6X.
So whatever the shoulder is right, that ratio should be 1.6. So let me just try to figure something out here. So if we're doing kind of simple math here out of the gate, right? That would be like 16 inches up top to a 10-inch around the waist, just to give you the ratio. So you take whatever your shoulders are right, and you divide it. So my shoulders here, I think mine are going to be. So if you go around the entire shoulders, whatever that ratio should be divided by the waist, that should give you that 1.6. That's the golden ratio, all right?
For women, it's a little bit different. It's the opposite. For men, it's the opposite. It's here, here's your waist, and then here's your hips. And essentially we're looking at the whatever the hips are, the waist to be about 15 to 30 percent of what, 15 to 30 less than what the hips are, okay? So you could do that math pretty simply. And so that just gives you a pretty good optimal ratio, aesthetically speaking. I would say from an optimal health standpoint in regards to hips, I would say or waist is the big one, right? Because that's where adiposity is. So with the waist, we want to be 35 or less for a woman, 40 or less for a male.
Choose that belly button area. That's a good kind of spot to look at. And then use the myotape. Myotape's a good one out of the gates. And then regarding that ratio, take whatever your shoulder circumference is, and then divide that by whatever your waist circumference is. And then with women, same thing. Do whatever the waist is, and then divide that over what the hips is, and that should give you the ideal ratio there.
Now, interval training matters. Interval training is important. Strength training matters. What are exercises that we can do to accelerate the metabolism? So we have fuel coming in. The first thing is we have to make sure we are choosing foods that allow our hormones to be more in a burning state and an optimal metabolic state because the more we are surging insulin, our body is going to want to store and not burn. So imagine hormones, they're like the air traffic controller. They're telling your body metabolically speaking where fuel should go. So imagine planes coming in, this air traffic controller is saying, “Hey, you guys land over there. Hey, you guys land over there. These calories come in, send that to the mitochondria, send that to these muscles, get it burnt up. Hey, these calories over here, put that in the fat cell, put that in the liver, right? Store those over there.”
So we want to look at things holistically and say, “Well, why is the air traffic controller telling it to go there versus there?” So insulin is a major component; it's a storage hormone. It will tell protein to go into muscles, and it will tell carbohydrate a lot of times to go into fats. Very important. And so if we're metabolically active, our body will always take glucose in the bloodstream and burn it up. Like, it's much easier to do that because it's…it's easier to do that than to go and take fat out of fat tissues and burn it. So when you're eating glucose or you're eating carbohydrates, your body will always turn off fat burning.
So if you're trying to burn fat, ideally, you want to eat a meal, you want to wait at least five hours or so before a meal. That fasting state, you start to get more ketogenic two to three hours into your last meal, you start to burn more fat. And so when you're constantly grazing or you're eating too much carbohydrate and you're surging insulin, you are telling your body, “Burn that glucose, do not burn the fat.” And we want to do the opposite, we want to send signals to our body to burn fat over the carbohydrates.
Now, if you do consume too much carbohydrates or too much glucose, guess what you can do? You can go for a walk; that can lower your glucose 10, 20 points. So if you did do too much on the dessert side or carbohydrates, that you can work on that; you can bring that down, not a big deal. Now, that being said, if you're trying to burn more fat during the day, the first thing is don't start your day with a bunch of carbohydrates. The only exception to that rule is if you had a very hard workout in the morning, and you're trying to do some post-workout insulin stimulation to get yourself more anabolic for muscle recovery and synthesis; that's my only exception on that.
All right, unless you're really active and you have a good metabolic type, you're kind of an ectomorph, you burn a lot of carbohydrates, and you're a carb burner, fine, that's okay. So if you're at your body weight, and you're pretty active, and you can make that adjustment, that being said, interval training is a great way to boost your metabolism, and it's simple and easy.
I got a Rogue Echo bike; I got my rower over there. It's the same brand, yeah, it's Rogue, I think, yep. And so these are, these are Concept 2. These are excellent devices; you can do to get your body going. So I'll typically do my own type of custom Tabata. Your typical Tabata is a 20-second on, all-out high-intensity interval, right? 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. I go 30 seconds with mine. I find 30 seconds is good, and then I try to do a little bit longer of a recovery. I go 30 seconds off; I find doing 10 seconds longer is better for me, and then that 30-second recovery, I can come back at the next set faster. I just find that I deteriorate with the Tabata at 20-10. So I add 10 seconds on, and I give myself 20 seconds to rest. I get my heart rate up a little bit more; I find that that extra 10 seconds makes a big difference to me.
Strength training, of course, because one, you're bringing out that glucose in the muscle, two, you're increasing growth hormone and testosterone, and three, you're building more muscle, a bigger reservoir for glycogen and glucose, and also, it increases your metabolism. And then you have your Zone 2 cardio. Zone 2 cardio is what you do when you're just, going for a jog. It's at a level where you could maybe…you could have a conversation with the person next to you, but it'd be a little bit hard. But you could have that conversation, and you'd be slightly bit out of breath, but you can have a conversation with someone next to you. That's like your Zone 2. That's like in the 110 or so heart rate, and that's good 20-30 minutes.
That puts you in a pretty good fat-burning state, a lot of good metabolic benefits in regards to anti-aging, and it's not too hard to do. Again, I like doing a lot of cardio on surfaces that are non-compressive. My Concept 2 rower, my Rogue Echo Air Bike, I like it because a lot of resistance, a lot of functional movement. I like to get my arms and legs involved or if I'm doing a row, I'm opening my back up right, this is getting a lot of hamstring movement in there as well, and this is super helpful for building up and stimulating a lot of these muscles to work, and it's non-compressive; I'm not banging my joints, that's really nice aspect of that.
Eat enough so you're satiated, this is important. Right, proteins and fats are very satiating. Proteins and fats release certain neurochemicals that tell you to be full. It could be peptide YY, it could be adiponectin, it could be cholecystokinin, and these are chemicals that tell you to be full. And so the first thing you can do is eat enough protein. So I'll start my day with a little bit lower on the protein side because I want to activate, I want to decrease mTOR, which is going to benefit with lots of anti-aging pathways. This could help with lots of insulin sensitivity; it's going to help with protein recycling called cellular autophagy, a lot of telomere lengthening.
So decreasing mTOR is helpful; you get the same kind of thing when you fast. So I try to do a modified fast where I get some protein from collagen peptides, good, beneficial for my connective tissues, my skin, my hair, and nails, but not enough to knock to increase mTOR. So I try to keep mTOR suppressed. mTOR is a million targeted rapamycin; you want to keep that down for anti-aging benefits. So I'll do some collagen in the morning; I'll do some MCT oil, put it in my coffee, blend it up, so I get some fat, some protein, not enough to knock out the mTOR, and so I do get some nutrition in there. I do spit out a lot of ketones, so now I'm ready to start my day, totally satiated, and this knocks out all my cravings throughout the day, so I can then have my lunch around 2 o'clock, go six or so hours without eating again.
The weaker your adrenals are, you know, you may want to come in there and eat around four hours, so just play around with that. Ideally, eat about a palm to a fist to a full hand of protein, so you feel satiated. My only exception for that would be the morning to kind of have that anti-aging benefit on the mTOR side, and again with fats, I'll choose really good healthy animal fats, whether it's grass-fed beef, chicken, lamb, poultry, try to have the skin on if you can. That's a really good, excellent, like kind of steric acid type of awesome fat.
And then again, we'll try to avoid, like the vegetable oils, the refined process plant oils. If we do any vegetable oils, it'll be avocado; it'll be coconut oil, and it will be avocado or olive oil, all cold-pressed in a processed way that's not going to damage the fat. So cold-pressed is a better way to do it; you want to stay away from the fats that are heated. Canola oil is highly refined, highly processed, can be damaged due to the benzene and the bleaching and all the processing. There's about 30 or 40 steps of that type of oil, so it can damage the fats, and any of your processed soybean oil or any of your hydrogenated oils, they pump in hydrogens.
They do that to make a liquid vegetable oil become a solid at room temperature. That's how you can know a fat saturated at room temperature; it is hard when it's 70 degrees or lower, or if it's a, if it's a hydrogenated oil, trans fat, it'll also be solid at room temperature. That's how they did that kind of “I Can't Believe It's Not Butter” type of margarine in the '80s and '90s. So really important there, that sets your day up on the craving side to be in control, so important.
So intermittent fasting, so first, I kind of mentioned my modified version, where I just keep the protein low in the morning, keep it 20 grams or less, don't knock up that mTOR, you can do your typical 12 by 12. That's really good; you know, have your dinner by 7 or 8, don't eat till 7 or 8 the next morning, that's still pretty good. Try to go 4 to 5 hours in between meals, maybe even 6 if you're doing really good and you have a good breakfast. You can do an 18 by 6. What does that look like? That's like, basically, 18 by 6 is going to be like lunch or your first meal around 2 o'clock and your last meal around 7 or 8, or your 16 by 8 will be your first meal, maybe at noon, second meal at 5, maybe something right before bed, right?
It's hard to get enough calories in one meal; some people talk about doing an OMAD. The problem with the OMAD, you're gonna have to get all your nutrition in one meal, that's a lot of stress on your tummy, that's a lot. If you look at, you may need 2500 calories, good luck, you're going to be eating for well over an hour at that meal because you're gonna need…I mean, if I'm 210 pounds, 215, I'm gonna need probably 150 grams of protein at one meal, that's a lot, that's like a pound and a half of steak, that's a big salad, that's a full avocado, it's a lot of food in one meal.
Now, if you have amazing digestion, you're not that stressed, you're taking a lot of HCL and enzymes, and you have like probably an hour to eat, you're going to be like Thanksgiving dinner type of stuff, right, undo the belt two notches, all right, so I mean it could work for some, I think it's easier to do it at least two meals. Two meals allows you to cut that in half, and then I think a variation of two to three is the best just to get the nutrition in and not stuff your body so much at one sitting where you have to process and handle it all. So that's kind of my take on it, and so a 12 by 12 I think is something that most people can do, and again, don't do intermittent fasting every day; you want some variation with this.
I try to definitely intermittent fast if I know I'm gonna fly or I'm doing things out of the routine where I'm not going to be around great food; I'll take that as an opportunity to fast also. Um, that modified breakfast fast is a great way to do it by keeping the protein down and decreasing the mTOR. And then one or two days a week, choose a day to do an intermittent fast, just skip breakfast, keep it simple, skip breakfast, come in and have a bigger lunch and a dinner to compensate, and try to choose days that are less stressful because if you're having less nutrition coming in during the morning hours, you know, you may feel a little bit more tired if you're not used to it. So try to choose your days where you have more stress where you eat that way, you get nutrition coming in. And then also, if you're going to have a fasting day, know that to be like a day where you have less stress coming in on the queue.
All right, guys, hope you enjoyed today's podcast. If you did, please let me know; I really appreciate it. Like, you guys, to get my…you know, give me some input, put your comments down below. In general, lab testing, CRP, fasting insulin, my functional glucose tolerance test, that's your fasting, one hour, two hour, three hours; we want to be not below 120 to 140 at hour one, back with a little 120 to 100 at hour two, and definitely below 100 at hour three. Get your fasting insulin; again, you can use a blood sugar meter like the Keto Mojo here's mine. We'll put a description or an Amazon link in the description for you guys.
Also, cortisol rhythm testing can be great. Now, when it comes to protein, I talked about protein earlier, right? Sometimes protein can be a little bit hard to digest, so if you have issues, where is it? If you have issues right here breaking it down, digesting it, you've got to have good hydrochloric acid and enzymes you may have to do some gut testing because you have some SIBO or dysbiosis or some gut permeabilities. You have a lot of bloating, your gas, and you may want to look deeper at your gut if you need it, so that's a good option for you guys as well. Just be mindful of that because that could be a big stressor that's kind of impairing your metabolism and absorbing a lot of the amino acids.
So hope you guys enjoyed today's podcast. If you did, love it, see it below, links down below if you want to reach out to Dr. J, myself. There'll be a link where if you want to dive in and get your functional medicine questions answered or be a patient, we see patients worldwide, so there'll be a link down below where you can access that and schedule. All right, guys, I hope you enjoyed today's podcast. If you did, let us know, appreciate it, y'all. All right, bye now.
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