Dr. Oz Recommends Fighting Belly Fat with Secrets from the Ocean: Hype or Helpful?
On a recent episode of the Dr. Oz Show that focuses on getting your body swimsuit-ready for the beach, Dr. Oz recommends four belly fat fighting nutritional foods and supplements from the ocean. However, before rushing to the nearest health food store, here is some extra information to consider about his belly fat fighting supplements that alerts you to what is hype and what is helpful.
Algae oil is a rich source of one type of omega-3 fatty acid and works to fight belly fat by reducing inflammation in your body. Inflammation is one of the key contributors to storing excess fat in your body—particularly in the abdominal region. Another benefit of algae oil is that it does not have a fishy taste or odor to it unlike other omega-3 containing fish oil supplements or when eating sardines.
However, the best recommendation for getting omega-3 fatty acids into your diet is by eating oily fish such as sardines and anchovies that are natural sources of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) omega-3 fatty acids. Taking supplements like an algae oil pill is not as beneficial as eating oily fish because it turns out that algae oil contains only DHA and not EPA.
If you cannot stand eating sardine or are a vegetarian, then supplements or foods fortified with omega-3 fatty acids are recommended. With that in mind, you need to be sure that you know if your supplement has both DHA and EPA, or just one and not the other to be sure that you are taking the correct dose. The general recommendation is 1000 milligrams (1 gram) of DHA and EPA combined—not separate. Therefore, you may need to adjust the number of capsules you take per day because not all omega-3 supplements contain the same amounts of EPA and/or DHA.
Dr. Oz’s recommendation of 600 mg per day of DHA-containing algae oil supplement is within the normal recommended range. Before taking more than this dose, however, you should first consult with your physician and take into consideration any food sources of additional omega-3 fatty acids that you may already be taking.
Flounder is a fish that lives near the bottom of the ocean and can contain as much as 30 grams of protein in one filet. The belly fat fighting advantage to this is that its high protein content will make you feel fuller than you would feel by eating some other types of fish.
Flounder is also low in saturated fat and is a good source of Vitamin D, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Potassium, Vitamin B12 and Selenium. However, one category that flounder fails in is that it is high in cholesterol. One 28-gram serving of raw flounder is listed as containing 13.6 mg of cholesterol. Depending on your cholesterol numbers, you may want to consult with your dietician and physician before filling up with flounder.
Nori is one of 20 types of edible seaweed and is often used in sushi rolls. The pigment in Nori contains Fucoxanthin—a carotenoid found in some seaweeds. The belly fat fighting advantage of eating Nori or other foods that contain fucoxanthin is that is believed to aid in fat loss by reportedly stimulating a protein called Uncoupled Protein 1 (UCP1) which increases the metabolism in fat cells.
In one study published in 2010, animal studies showed that feeding mice a fucoxanthin-rich seaweed extract actually suppressed body weight gain and improved the fat cell burning by increasing the metabolism in mice that were on a high-fat diet.
Dr. Oz recommends baking sheets of Nori seaweed in the oven at a low temperature until they are crunchy and use them as a potato chip snack substitute.
Chitosan is a modified dietary fiber derived from the chitin component of the shells of crustaceans such as crab, shrimp and cuttlefish. Chitosan is often advertised as a “fat trapper” and reportedly helps fight belly fat by blocking fat absorption in the stomach, which then allows the fat to pass on through the intestine and out the body as waste.
Dr. Oz says that it is especially good for your diet cheat days when you want to reward yourself with something fatty like a cheeseburger. He recommends taking 1000 mg of chitosan 30 minutes (with water) before consuming a fat-filled meal.
However, multiple studies in respected journals have found no evidence that eating chitosan will result in weight loss or that it is actively binding to fat in the stomach in test subjects fed fatty meals. For more information about one study that says chitosan fat fighting claims are bogus, here is a free article from the journal Obesity Research for public viewing.
While there are nutritional benefits to eating some foods and supplements from the ocean that can help fight belly fat, like all dieting advice you have to take it with a grain of salt and do your research. For more information about another ocean product that has been found to be useful in fighting fat—and backed by science—follow this link to an article about one type of fat fighting seaweed.
Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile
“Fucoxanthin-rich seaweed extract suppresses body weight gain and improves lipid metabolism in high-fat-fed C57BL/6J mice” Biotechnology Journal 2010 Sep; 5(9): 961-9; Jeon SM et al.
“Chitosan Supplementation and Fecal Fat Excretion in Men” Obesity Research (2003) 11, 683–688; doi: 10.1038/oby.2003.97; Matthew D. Gades and Judith S. Stern.