Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

Want to Be Smart—Lose Your Belly

Belly Bug

A spare tire actually drags down your thinking. If you are overweight, particularly with visceral (belly) fat, the liver uses some of the brain’s share of the critical protein PPAR-alpha . In a recent study at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago,  Kalipada Pahan, PhD, discovered a link with the protein PPAR-alpha and the hippocampus (the memory center in the brain).[1] In a nut shell, high fat ends up starving the hippocampus.

Over time a high carbohydrate diet will increase this form of fat setting up continual mental decline leading to dementia. [2] As your belly gets bigger, your brain shrinks. So maybe it’s not age that causes mental deterioration, maybe it’s lifestyle choices.

Bad rap for fat

Other studies are showing that it’s not fat and oil that cause weight gain, it’s the carbohydrates.[3] We all were told to avoid fats and oils… they were evil. Well, it turns out they aren’t. In fact many of them are critical for neurological and muscular function. Healthy clients come to me complaining of chronic low energy, poor muscle tone, and what they call depression. Often their healthy diet excluded or was significantly limited in animal protein and fat. I often recommend adding organic animal products to their diets. After just one month, they report feeling better than they had in years. I wish my work with them could take all the credit, but it can’t. Their improvements were as much their diet change as it was my treatments.


It’s simple yet it might not seem easy until you start seeing the results. These behavior shifts within a few months can make a huge difference:

  • low carbohydrate diet, specifically low grain intake
  • more animal protein and fat
  • exercise which has shown to boost PPAR-alpha levels
  • learning to breathe when under stress

In general, think in terms of how our ancestors lived with their minimal diet, movement, and adaptation to stress. I’m not saying go back to the cave. Simple foods, moving on a daily basis, and having some fun along with a community in your life will go a long way towards keeping you healthy.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer,, with 33 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.


photo by: Brendan Head

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