Everyone has some belly fat, even people who have flat abs. That’s normal. But too much belly fat can affect your health in a way that other fat doesn’t. Some of your fat is right under your skin. Other fat is deeper inside, around your heart, lungs, liver, and other organs. It’s that deeper fat — called “visceral” fat — that may be the bigger problem, even for thin people. You need some visceral fat. It provides cushioning around your organs. But if you have too much of it, you may be more likely to get high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer. With increasing obesity, you have people whose regular areas to store fat are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs and around the heart.
There are four keys to controlling belly fat: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management. In a new study in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine, folks who got acupuncture for eight weeks saw a 6% reduction in BMI, a smaller waist circumference, and a loss in overall body fat. “Stimulating specific points can help suppress appetite and increase metabolism,” explains study co-author Sabina Lim. Needles were placed into points on the ear thought to correspond to hunger and activity in the stomach, spleen and endocrine system.