Whether you are a man or a woman, the deep fat that builds up in your belly greatly increases your risk of insulin resistance (1).
In fact, when scientists surgically removed 18% of the belly fat in obese mice, their insulin sensitivity improved, and their onset of diabetes was delayed (2).
This is not a blog post on how to surgically remove belly fat, and we are not mice, but I do have a daily strategy that you can use to fight back against belly fat and insulin resistance. Best of all, you can start doing this today.
Belly Fat and Insulin Resistance Strategy – At-A-Glance
- Belly fat (a.k.a. visceral fat) is metabolically active, increasing inflammation and insulin resistance.
- Insulin resistance makes weight loss difficult because it blocks fat loss and makes you hungry and tired.
- Early time-restricted eating and apple cider vinegar can help reduce belly fat and insulin resistance.
- Cheese can be eaten with apple cider vinegar to make it more palatable
Belly Fat, Insulin Resistance, and a Hack to Beat Them Both [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Strategies that you can use to fight back against belly fat and insulin resistance.
- Ways to make Apple Cider Vinegar more palatable.
- Extra tips to help you in your weight loss journey.
Belly Fat and Insulin Resistance
The fat on your body is either subcutaneous or visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the fat you can pinch under your skin. Visceral fat gets deposited deep in the abdomen, pushing the belly forward, hence the name belly fat.
Subcutaneous fat is mostly a benign storage closet. You don’t want to have a lot of pinchable fat, but having some does not necessarily harm your health. Belly fat, on the other hand, is metabolically active. That means it increases the release of inflammatory substances and free fatty acids, leading to insulin resistance and other health problems (1) (3) (4).
When that resistance is present, insulin cannot efficiently move sugar out of your blood and into your cells. This makes weight loss difficult because the resulting high blood sugar and insulin levels block fat loss and make you feel tired and hungry.
If not addressed, a vicious cycle is created where the insulin resistance encourages more belly fat, and the extra belly fat worsens the insulin resistance.
We need a way to break this cycle. We will do that using early time-restricted eating, apple cider vinegar, and one ounce of cheese.
The 3 Tools (eTRE, ACV, Cheese)
The two tools that encourage fat loss and improve insulin sensitivity are early time-restricted eating and apple cider vinegar.
Early time-restricted eating is the practice of consuming your last meal of the day by mid-afternoon. In other words, you finish eating early, then restrict food intake until bedtime. This improves insulin sensitivity because it lessens insulin’s workload. When there is no food, there is no spike in insulin production.
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help control blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce belly fat. I have a blog post sharing the apple cider vinegar research supporting those findings.
Here we have two tools that help you fight back against insulin resistance and belly fat. However, both have rather glaring challenges.
For one thing, when you stop eating by 4 in the afternoon, you are left with a long stretch of fasting before bed, which can be uncomfortable. As for apple cider vinegar, the challenge is that it tastes bad. This is where the cheese becomes a valuable tool for the strategy.
Knowing that you can have an ounce of cheese at the end of the day helps you mentally be okay with fasting in the evening. Cheese also makes the apple cider vinegar more appealing. In fact, a study that used that combination is how this strategy came about.
Back in 2007, I came across a small study showing that consuming 30ml or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed helped control morning blood sugar levels in diabetic patients (5).
What intrigued me is that participants got those results even though they were consuming an ounce of cheese with the vinegar. The cheese was used to make the vinegar more palatable, yet you would think that the cheese would negate the benefits either because of the calories or because you’re eating right before sleeping. That was not the case.
In fact, there was a control group that had no apple cider vinegar. Instead, they simply ate cheese and drank water. Yet that control group, like the apple cider vinegar group, showed a reduction in fasting glucose, albeit a smaller one.
It’s intriguing. Is there something about cheese that has a positive effect on fasting glucose? The research team was left with nothing more than speculation. But, to me, that serving of cheese makes this fasting and vinegar strategy doable.
Let’s put this all together, so you have a practical strategy to use tonight if you’d like.
The ultimate goal is to finish eating for the day by 4 PM and have two tablespoons (30ml) of apple cider vinegar with one ounce of cheese within an hour of bed.
That is the target. However, you can work up to that level. When you are insulin resistant, hunger is hard to control, so to build your comfort level, stop eating three hours before bed. Then, over time, you can move dinner earlier until you reach that 4 PM target.
Before bed, start with one tablespoon of diluted apple cider vinegar, followed by the cheese. You will work up to two tablespoons, but apple cider vinegar is an acquired taste. Years ago, my husband and I did a post on how to make apple cider vinegar taste good by adding different ingredients.
Below, you’ll find a list of the most common things readers liked to add to apple cider vinegar.
If you cannot stomach this drink at bedtime, you can have it before dinner, which is beneficial for blood sugar control. There are also apple cider vinegar supplements containing acetic acid, which is the active ingredient. All I can say about them is that the studies are not out there showing their effectiveness.
There is no standardization in the supplement world, so you are best off going with the liquid form. However, if that is too much of an obstacle, choose a supplement company with a good reputation, such as Paleovalley.
I want to leave you with a few notes.
1. The takeaway of this article is not that eating cheese at bedtime makes you lose weight. The study involving cheese noticed that eating an ounce of cheese at bedtime allowed participants to wake with a lower blood glucose reading, helping them reach the goal of becoming more insulin sensitive.
2. Is cheese the only thing that will work? I don’t know the answer to that question. Since it was what was used in the favorable study, it is what I recommend. If you stay away from dairy, I suggest choosing a food like chicken or turkey. Those foods are similar to cheese in that they are mainly protein with only trace amounts of carbs.
3. Resist the urge to eat a big sugary dessert after dinner. That refined treat is a false prophet. It seems like the extra food should help you make it until bedtime. However, because it leads to a blood sugar crash, it actually makes you more hungry in the evening.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
(1) Hardy, Olga T., Michael P. Czech, and Silvia Corvera. “What causes the insulin resistance underlying obesity?.” Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity 19.2 (2012): 81.
(2) Gabriely, Ilan, et al. “Removal of visceral fat prevents insulin resistance and glucose intolerance of aging: an adipokine-mediated process?.” Diabetes 51.10 (2002): 2951-2958.
(3) Ebbert, Jon O., and Michael D. Jensen. “Fat depots, free fatty acids, and dyslipidemia.” Nutrients 5.2 (2013): 498-508.
(4) Jung, Suk Hwa, Kyoung Hwa Ha, and Dae Jung Kim. “Visceral fat mass has stronger associations with diabetes and prediabetes than other anthropometric obesity indicators among Korean adults.” Yonsei medical journal 57.3 (2016): 674-680.
(5) White, Andrea M., and Carol S. Johnston. “Vinegar ingestion at bedtime moderates waking glucose concentrations in adults with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care 30.11 (2007): 2814-2815.