Science Questions

Sun, 6th Nov 2005

Part of the show Fireworks, Explosions and Chemistry


James in Ipswich asked:

What is the best way to burn fat from the abdominal area, or in other words, a beer belly?! And why does it collect there?


This is a Nobel Prize winning level of question, and if either of us could answer that, we'd probably be straight of to Scandinavia! The easy answer is, have you noticed that men tend to put weight on round their middle, and women tend to put it on round their bum? So there has to be a genetic component to this. The old saying goes that women have lots of fat around their hips and bums because that's their store for pregnancy. However, we don't know exactly why and how the body decides on the distribution of fat in the body. What we do know is that you can lose weight from those areas just as easily as you can anywhere else, if you resort to the right kind of exercise regimen. Energy in equals energy out, plus or minus any weight gain. So if you're not burning up the energy that you're putting into your body, the energy has to go somewhere. You body thinks that the most efficient way to store it is as fat, which it puts under the skin, or if, a man, as a bit of a beer belly.


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