All five fingers are not the same. Likewise, all body types are not similar. Are you having a pear-shaped body like Beyonce and Malaika Arora Khan or an apple-shaped body like Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie (slim apple-shaped body)???
A new study of more than 430,000 people has found that having an apple-shaped body increases the chances of being affected by diabetes and heart diseases. Putting on weight is a frustrating issue and when your health and figure depends on where the fat addition happens, it is even more irritating. Along with your diet and exercise, hormonal imbalance and genetics play a critical role in deciding how and where you gain weight. So, there is no one-size-fits-all theory and every person needs a different nutrition and exercise chart that fits his/her body type-apple, pear, hourglass and box.
Apple and pear are the most prevalent body types and the accumulation of fat in the abdomen, hips, waist or thighs depends on specific hormones that have a great effect on the health of the body.
People in this category have most of their fat stores, subcutaneous and visceral, around the abdominal area and have a larger waist. Visceral fat is the main culprit increasing the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin intolerance in apple-shaped bodies because it surrounds the body’s vital organs and produces hormones and chemicals that tamper with blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels that are controlled by insulin.
Men and post-menopausal women mostly have an apple-shaped body. Insulin level depends on carbohydrate intake and consuming low-GI carbohydrate foods such as fruits, vegetables, berries and legumes along with some lean protein and healthy fats (avocados, almonds, fatty fish, chia seeds, ground flax seeds and olive oil) improve insulin response. If you are unaware of the low-GI and high-GI foods, it is better to visit the website www.firsteatright.com to get the complete list.
People in this category have most of their fat stores around the hips and thighs which is difficult to lose but healthy in terms of insulin resistance and cholesterol levels. Also, energy from thigh stores are utilized during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Fat stores in women differ according to their age. Younger and middle-aged women have a pear-shaped body because of increased estrogen levels that accumulate fat around the hips. Post-menopause women have an apple-shaped body as estrogen level gradually decreases and fat deposits happen above the belt. Fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes slow insulin release and must be included in the daily diet plan. Pear-shaped people must consume a diet rich in fiber and low in sodium along with balanced levels of organic protein, low-fat organic dairy and limited amounts of healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocados and olives).
On a General Note
Losing weight and maintaining a fit body can be done through a balanced combination of physical exercise, nutritious food, stress management and adequate sleep. Only when all these four are in proper sync with one another, hormone balance and proper energy levels are feasible. If there is even a slight deviation from the normal hormone levels, it is advisable to meet your physician. Also, consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist to make a customized meal plan suiting your body type and health conditions.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.