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Nutrition & Dieting/Is this a medical condition or genetic?


QUESTION: Lawrence
I am 55. I have always had a very prominant belly, although I have never been obese. Even as a skinny young man I had a big gut. I have baby pictures of me with skinny arms and legs but a big belly!
I dont have IBS or food intolerances, although alcohol in excess will bloat me up-thats why I dont do it!
Even a small amount of food fills me up. One slice of pixxa and I have to unbuckle my pants!
Since I dont know my father, I dont know if it is genetic. A few years ago I has a colonoscopy, and the doctor made an observation that my stomach and intestines seemed quite high on my body.
This has only gotten worse with age, but I am keeping it from being huge with a good diet and exercise. BTW, I have found that contrary to popular opinion, low carb diets dont work for me, but low fat ones seem to help. I wonder if that is related?
Only my wife and kids know I am a light eater, dont drink much booze, and a regular jogger! Do you know if this is a medical condition, or is it genetic? I have seen a few guys like me over the years, but of course I am not going to approach them. Thanks!

Men in general tend to hold their weight in the stomach area in most cases. A hard large belly could be a sign of visceral fat which is the most dangerous type for a man. The way you can tell if its visceral is because its isn't soft and mushy. Visceral fat is hard and when you smack your belly it doesn't move. Genetics play a part in obesity and can play a part in in what your body looks like and the problems that you may encounter during your life. For an example I will use myself. My father and I have the same body for the most part and I have some of the same medical problems that he does except in a lesser form because I took care of myself better. Family history is a key to your future health. As for your personal issue I can not say definitively without seeing the results of multiple tests. You say that your a light eater but I see that low carb diets do not work for you and low fat ones do. This tends to lead me back to visceral fat we are dealing with. Has your doctor said anything about your cholesterol, or blood pressure. If he has it may be a factor of deep seated visceral fat.

Now as for IBS this could also be a likely cause of your large belly. And the only way to correct that is through a diet specifically designed for you after doing a food study to determine which foods are good for you and which are not. Did your doctor order an endoscopy or it is also known as an upper GI. This test will look at your stomach from the mouth down. This test may see something different then the other. What does your doctor recommend? If you have any other info to share with me that may help you further feel free to write back.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

I did some more research, and did find some info about high saturated fat diets contributing to  visceral. Maybe thats why low carb diets never worked for me, because my genes want me to store fat on my belly right away!?
Not that much info out there, probably because the low carb thing is still in vogue.
This makes sense, in fact, it is the old school way of thinking-'Jack Sprat'... My father in law and one son are good eaters but HATE the taste of fat, and are thin, while me and another son (my double) have a 'fat tooth'.
Also, I forgot to mention my cholesterol is OK but I am hypertensive.
I will keep on with the low fat diet since I am seeing progress in the rest of my body. Is it true that the stomach is the first place to put on fat and the last place to take it off?

As for the stomach being the first and last place for fat to be stored or lost, generally men tend to gain in their stomachs while women tend to gain in their hips, rear end and legs. This is all dependent on the individual. Stomach fat can be easy to get rid of if its not visceral fat. Visceral fat can be very difficult to get rid of. High blood pressure is found in many people with large stomachs.

Good luck and feel free to write back if you need any additional advice



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Lawrence Sanchez CSN, CPFC, RI, PT, TBMI


I am able to answer questions in regards to losing weight, proper nutrition and exercise while losing weight,diet modification, and preparing healthy nutritious food while dieting. I can also help people by explaining the importance of BMI, BMR,and body fat. I can help people with no meat types of diets and special diets. I can help those who need information about beginning a running regimen. One of my favorite subjects to answer questions about is organic life style and whole foods.


I own Healthy Life Consultants, which is a company that helps people lose weight through diet modification and exercise. I also am the Founder and owner of the Tenchi Budo Martial Arts System and The Natural Healing Center.At the Natural Healing Center I help people through the use of Alternative Therapies and Medicines. For fun I compete regulary in running races mainly 5K'S and 10K'S. I spend much of my free time studying about anything when it comes to nutrition,alternative medicine,and exercise.

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