We are told that improvements in diet and exercise are the way to prevent cardiovascular disease. A growing body of evidence supports the contention that high quality nutrition decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In particular, diets high in unrefined whole grain cereals, nuts, green plant foods, fruits, unprocessed meats, vegetables, fish and dairy are beneficial to the health. However, the science regarding the benefits of exercise is less clear.
Weight Loss And Cardiovascular Disease
As body weight increases the risk of cardiovascular disease increases. This association between being fat and cardiovascular disease is based largely on the presence of abdominal fat. Weight loss decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease because it signifies that the potentially problematic belly fat is decreasing. However, while most assume that such weight loss is caused by exercise, this is in fact not necessarily true.
Does Exercise Cause Weight Loss?
The concept that weight loss is caused by exercise is so ingrained in the psyche of most that to question it invites ridicule. However, the ability of exercise to cause weight loss is controversial. While physical activity levels are associated with lower body weights, the cause and effect of this relationship are not obvious. For example, while exercise could cause weight loss, it is just as likely that being lean facilitates participation in physical activity.
Abdominal Versus Subcutaneous Fat
Abdominal fat is the fat that accumulates around the belly deep in the viscera. This belly fat signifies an underlying metabolic dysfunction caused by insulin resistance. Such fat is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease because the metabolic changes associated with the fat detrimentally affect health. In contrast, subcutaneous fat is the fat just under the skin, and this sort of fat does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Exercise And Abdominal Fat
The ability of exercise to prevent cardiovascular disease therefore pivots on the ability of exercise to reduce abdominal fat. Unfortunately, exercise is not able to reduce belly fat because such fat is not caused by a lack of exercise. Belly fat forms when a low quality diet high in fructose and trans fatty acids is eaten regularly. The way to reduce belly fat is therefore to avoid these foods and eat high quality nutrition devoid of these metabolic poisons.
The ability of exercise to prevent cardiovascular disease is therefore questionable. In fact, exercise might actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease because of the extra stress it causes. Belly fat signifies an underlying metabolic disorder which result in inflammation, and this is a contributory factor in cardiovascular disease. Only high quality nutrition that reverses metabolic dysfunction is effective at reducing inflammation and preventing cardiovascular disease.