Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry (00:14):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry podcast. Belly fat, it’s something many Americans have struggled with at one point or another, but carrying that extra weight around your midsection is doing so much more than standing in the way of you and your health goals. It’s seriously harmful. In fact, my guests today say that excessive belly fat is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and that many of us are at risk no matter how thin we might look. After a quick break, we’ll hear from Dr. Paul Han and Hank Kim, the CEO and CSO of Bello, the world’s first portable belly fat scanner.
Bello is scientifically designed to directly measure lipids under the skin and provide an accurate measure of belly fat in a matter of seconds. It’s been globally recognized for excellence in innovation and quality and has won the CES 2020 Innovation Awards Honoree, and the IF 2020 Design Award. And in just a minute, we’re going to talk all about it. We will reveal why so many of us struggle with belly fat, what it may indicate about our health, and why simply stepping on the scale is not enough. We’ll also share how the Bello device could help you decode your belly fat and better manage your health. So, stay tuned, we’ll be right back.
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All right, welcome back, and welcome to Dr. Kim and Dr. Han. So, many of the listeners may not know this, but there are actually multiple types of belly fat. Can you explain the difference between visceral and subcutaneous fat? Is one more concerning than the other, and why would that be?
Speaker 2 (05:44):
Well, subcutaneous fat is located right under the skin. It regulates the body temperature and protects the body from external [inaudible 00:05:54]. Think of about this kind of belly fat protrude above one’s belt line, the kind people of think about when they call someone “fat” or “obese.” On the other hand, visceral fat refers the fat attached to the organs of the human body, not the skin. Generally, it refers to fat that adheres to the bodily organs, such as the liver, large intestine, and small intestine. It may not always be obvious that someone has an issue with visceral fat because it may not always show the way subcutaneous fat does.
Dr. Gundry (06:41):
In the United States, we have this expression of having “love handles,” and those are the fat that sometimes just protrudes above your belt. But that’s not visceral fat. That’s what you’re saying. And I think one of the striking things, and before I was a heart surgeon, I was a general surgeon, so I was in the belly quite a bit, and you are right. There’s a tremendous amount of fat that occurs inside of our belly that really has nothing to do with what’s sitting on the outside. And I’ve actually written about the fact that this visceral fat is also on the arteries of the heart. And interestingly enough, the more fat that’s on the outside of the heart, the more likely that somebody is going to develop heart disease. And this is also visceral fat. So, I think knowing the difference between subcutaneous fat, or maybe love handles, and what’s really inside, I think is actually really important. How does the weight, visceral fat, accumulate in the first place? Can you share what the underlying mechanisms are. I’ve written about this, but I want to hear your take as well.
Speaker 3 (08:22):
Okay. Before we go further, I would like to explain a little more about why visceral fat is the more dangerous. Basically, the subcutaneous fat and visceral fat, neither are great. However, while subcutaneous fat acts as an energy source located under the skin, a visceral fat does not stay in one place. This is the fat that travels throughout the body in one’s blood stream. So, as it moves, it accumulates in various bodily organs such as a liver and heart, stuff like that. In addition, excessive visceral fat is particularly dangerous because it releases chemicals that cause various cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. To summarize all of this, the subcutaneous fat is the cause of externally messing up your body or damaging your external aesthetics, and visceral fat is the cause of internally messing up your health.
And if I explain more about this, there are many reasons to why the midsection is more the bigger and fatter, something like that, and they accumulate it more fast. However, one major reason is because our weight is very closely related to our eating habit. And the main cause of this is excessive calorie intake. For example, excessive intake of carbs turns into fat, and especially as people get older, since the enzyme that synthesizes fat is activated in the abdomen, rather than the limbs, more fat accumulates in the abdomen than in any other part of the body, and hormonal changes are also an important factor in midsection weight gain. This is especially so in case of a woman, because they experience a rapid decrease in female hormones as they reach middle to late ages. These hormonal changes interfere with the breakdown of fat and creating an environment in which visceral fat is accumulated more easily.
Also, alcohol also contributes to this. It does not cause an accumulation of fat, but it is very high in calories and it does not make you feel full, so leading to overeating. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid excessive snacking while drinking. And a lack of exercise is also when of the main causes of weight gain, and if you don’t exercise, you will gradually lose muscle and your body will begin to easily accumulate fat, but other than these reasons, the body naturally accumulates a lot of fat in your stomach. There are tens of thousands of reasons why the abdomen is vulnerable to fat accumulation.
Dr. Gundry (11:44):
So, just in the United States, liposuction is very popular for aesthetics, but a lot of people don’t realize that the liposuction is just getting rid of subcutaneous fat. It’s not actually getting rid of visceral fat. Is that right?
Speaker 3 (12:07):
Excuse me? I missed your-
Dr. Gundry (12:09):
So, when people go and have liposuction, and they see their fat disappear, I’ve actually had a lot of patients come back and tell me that they had all their fat removed, so they don’t have any fat anymore, but liposuction doesn’t remove visceral fat. That’s a misnomer there. I mean, I could remove visceral fat and take it out of your abdomen, but I don’t recommend it as a surgical procedure. So, I think your point is well taken. People can have an aesthetically pleasing result with liposuction, but be unaware that there’s actually a silent killer still inside their belly. Is that a good way of saying that?
Speaker 3 (13:08):
Dr. Gundry (13:10):
And I like your point. Many are, I think, aware of what we call a “beer belly,” and that’s actually visceral fat that’s accumulating from excessive carbohydrate and alcohol intake. So, it’s a real thing. Correct?
Speaker 3 (13:36):
You know what? In general, if the lower abdomen is a convex, or there is a lot of fat in thighs or buttocks, it can be considered as a subcutaneously fat type. And, of course, this is difficult get rid of easily with just a nutrition and exercise plan, especially in women, after childbirth or menopause, a lot of fat accumulates in the abdomen under the influence of hormones. These cases are more difficult to eliminate as they are deeply associated with circulatory disorders. In this case, through aerobic exercise or a core exercise, you might need to burn fat cells and [inaudible 00:14:25] blood circulation to create a muscle to replace fat. On the other hand, if the upper abdomen is a convex, there are many cases of visceral fat again. This visceral fat is also not easy to remove. The best way to reduce it is to use that fat as an energy source through a proper exercise and diet.
However, there are people who have experienced the cases where their belly fat remains the same, even after losing weight through good management. There also will be some people who have high body fat measurement despite their slim figure. This is usually called the “lean obesity” or “skinny obesity,” and even in this case, visceral fat types have become more prominent. In order to get rid of visceral fat, it is important to not only diet and exercise, but also combine various methods such as lowering your blood sugar and insulin through, for example, fasting for more than 12 hours and allowing your fat to be more efficiently broken down, obviously, according to the advice of your primary doctor.
Dr. Gundry (15:55):
Yeah. I think that’s a really important point. And I emphasize that in a lot of my books like The Energy Paradox, that one of the best ways, particularly when diet and exercise don’t necessarily address visceral fat, that intermittent fasting or time restricted eating really is where this really attacks the underlying problem. And I think you’re right. There is such a thing as a skinny obesity, that is actually more common than people might know, and I think that’s one of the things I really like about your device, is that people think about, “Well, I get on the scale and my weight is normal. I look at my body mass index, BMI, and my body mass index is normal.” But then when we start, with very, almost invasive means, looking at body fat and where it’s located, many of these people are shocked that even though they’re skinny, they’re actually obese in their abdomen, in their visceral fat, where it shouldn’t be.
Now, I think one of the exciting things is, as many of our listeners know, there are ways to measure visceral fat that frequently involve rather invasive procedures, whether they’re x-rays or whether they’re whole body immersion. The reason I’m excited about the Bello device is because you guys have figured out how to make this measurement, how to have people see what their visceral fat is in an easy handheld device. So, let’s talk about your device, Bello. It’s intended to help users understand and support their metabolic health. So, first of all, we use this term a lot, and I think most of my viewers and listeners understand the importance of metabolic health, but I’d like to hear it from you. What is metabolic health in your I idea,
Speaker 2 (18:45):
“Metabolism” refers to overall chemical reaction that coordinates every cell in the body to function properly, to store or produce energy. Metabolic function manages energy for basic life support activities and controls the production and consumption of energy that is necessary for various human activities. If your metabolism slows down, it can result in your body operating inefficiently and increases your chances of causing heart problems in the long run.
Dr. Gundry (19:23):
So, what does that have to do with belly fat in particular? Is that just a good way of assessing overall metabolic health?
Speaker 2 (19:35):
There are many risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome. Some were known factors, including insulin and plus sugar. Abdominal, obviously, and visceral fat are known to cause high blood sugar by interfering with normal activity of insulin. As a result, uric acid may increase and lipid metabolism may suffer. These symptoms eventually lead to other complications and chronic disease. So, abdominal fat is typically linked to diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. It can also cause problems with your blood vessels. Visceral fat travels throughout the body and accumulates along the walls of blood vessels. The accumulated fat pops out from these walls as the lump grows and turns into the blood clot, which, as you know well, causes heart attack or stroke. In short, visceral fat is a time bomb.
Dr. Gundry (20:48):
You’re absolutely right. In fact, years ago, I was actually going to write a book, and I even drew the cover, of a fat belly, and there was a time bomb in there, and the book was going to be called Time Bomb. You couldn’t have said it better. It literally is a time bomb. Everybody’s going to go, “Well, wait a minute. Why can’t I just hop on the scale every now and then? Doesn’t my weight give a good indication of my health?
Speaker 2 (21:25):
It’s true that weight is the easiest indicator of our health status. Of course, we need to control it well. However, it’s difficult to determine abdominal, obviously, especially visceral fat, with just numbers on a scale. So, there are people who have visceral fat despite their lean body type and there are others who have visceral fat and metabolic disease due to genetic factors or harmful habits such as drinking alcohol and smoking, even despite regular diet and exercise.
Dr. Gundry (22:06):
And I mentioned before, and you probably would agree with me. So, even if I get my BMI checked, and there’s a lot of scales that check BMI, or I can look at a chart and look at my BMI, why isn’t that enough? What are the problems with just measuring body mass index?
Speaker 3 (22:30):
BMI, or body mass index, is the weight divided by height squared. It presumes that most overweight people are also fat. While it is often true, there are many exceptions. Men and women with a greater than average muscle mass will weigh more and have higher BMI, but may be more well than others with a lower BMI. Conversely, there may be individuals who weigh less than average, but have lower than average muscle mass and more fat without appearing to be obese. And nowadays, it has become very common to measure body composition as well as weight using a smart BIA scale, so that measures body composition. Strictly speaking, the measurement provided by these smart scales are not true measurement but predictions. The BIA technology measures the impotence of the torso, arms, and legs by sending a minute electrical signal through the body to estimate the amount of water and contained in the body.
So, it is just the technology that predict body composition by formulations based on the measured water content. It is a technology that continues to evolve, but it has some major gaps. So, chief among them is its technological limitations that measure only the moisture content. Since the amount of water in the body composition is taken as muscle mass, people with a lot of water in their adipose tissue may be mistaken for having a lot of muscle mass. Thus, there can be big changes in their composition according to their hydration status, such as diet, water intake, and urination. So, the best way to overcome these limitations, and to measure how much visceral fat is actually accumulated, is through a radiographic method such as a CAT Scan or DEXA. However, if you have to be exposed to radiation every single time you measure your belly fat, other problems may arise. Because of this, we use a near infrared technology. In other words, the nurse technology, instead of radiation, to measure visceral fat.
So, since our nurse technology directly measures a total hemoglobin concentration, oxygen saturation in capillaries and water and lipid and the tissue are of interest. It overcomes the limitation of BIA technology and analyzes the body composition more accurately by minimizing other interference. So, I can say that, consistent quantitative measurement is the most optimal technique for standardizing healthy indicators.
Dr. Gundry (26:01):
Yeah. I’d echo that. I have one of these Impedance scales, and actually, I have several of them and I have them in my office, but you can fool these scales, actually very easily. Many people retain about two pounds of water during the day, and since the conductance of electricity depends on salt water transmission, and fat as a good insulator, many of my patients are shocked when, at the end of the day, they may weigh more, but it says they’ve lost significant amount of body fat, and I use that as an example, to show my patients that this technology can be fooled very easily. You’re right, depending on your hydration status. So, it’s okay, but why I really wanted to have you on the program is that you’ve taken this to a much more accurate level. So, let’s talk about this near infrared spectroscopy, NIRS, how long has this technology been around?
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Speaker 3 (32:36):
Nurse technology has been used for several decades, and used in various fields since the 1990s. In the meantime, optical devices such as light sources and the detectors have developed rapidly, and the method of implementing technologies and computational models have also made a variety of developments. And even now, research is continuing in various fields, and it is a trend to apply the appropriate technology implementation method, according to a measurement purpose and commercializing.
Dr. Gundry (33:19):
So, how has this system been used in the past? Where was its applications before Bello?
Speaker 3 (33:27):
Okay. It is used in various fields, but I will briefly talk about it only in the medical and healthcare fields. If you look at the research field, it is typically used in advancing brain hemodynamics research and the functional imaging research of soft tissue cancer such as a breast cancer diagnosis. Of course, it is not limited there too, and there are various research cases regarding this. In terms of commercialized product, there are multiple oximetry devices for measuring oxygen saturation, such as post oximeter and brain oximeter. In addition, sports related wearable devices and imaging devices for functional neuro imaging or profusion in extremity tissues are also being developed.
Dr. Gundry (34:33):
So, many people, when they use a device of any sort, they want to know, “Well, is it safe?” It sounds like you’re going to beam through my belly, what’s that going to do?
Speaker 3 (34:55):
So, you’re asking about safeness, right?
Dr. Gundry (34:57):
Speaker 3 (34:57):
So, definitely this is a safe. In general, for accurate quantitative body composition measurements, radiation based equipment such as CAT scan or DEXA must be used. However, an [inaudible 00:35:15] has a longer wave length, which means it has a weaker energy than that of visual and UV, ultraviolet wave lengths. So, our devices use a very safe technology that raises no concerns about radiation exposure. In addition to safety, if I say, that it is very simple to use and only takes a few seconds to scan by contacting the device with the skin.
Dr. Gundry (35:46):
And one of the things I was impressed with your device, your technology, the accuracy, has been compared to the gold standard of DEXA and CAT scans. How can you tell me about what those studies found comparing bellow to the gold standards?
Speaker 3 (36:12):
Since the field of nurse technology is a field with so many different studies, it is difficult to mention all of them. Also, the evaluation of accuracy varies depending on the purpose of use. However, among many studies, it can be said that the study of the optical properties of absorption and scarring for object applied to Bello, our product, has already achieved considerable results, a significant research result on the accuracy of nurse technology has been reported quite frequently. And it can be said that the accuracy has already been proven through a measurement comparison with existing diagnostic equipments such as CAT scan, DEXA, and MRI. Even now, many related researches are in progress, and our companies are also conducting research for further development of the technology. So, I think this area will become more sophisticated in the future, and Bello, our device, is also a product that has been validated for its accuracy through clinical research.
In addition, upcoming product, such as a [NextGen 00:37:38] Bello and the muscle measuring device called the [Fetal 00:37:43], which we are about to release, are also being developed through conducting clinical research correlating with the CAT scan index in Korea and United States. In this study, our product shows around at least 92% and up to 97% of measurement accuracy, depending on items, compared to those referenced equipments.
Dr. Gundry (38:07):
Now, I know you developed Bello to look for visceral fat and to have a quick and portable and rapid assessment of visceral fat. But do you see potential for this whole technology to be a way of early disease detection? For instance, how do you see this comparing to ultrasound, MRI, or to CT scans?
Speaker 3 (38:43):
Doctors often rely on visible data such as endoscopic x-rays and MRIs, as you said, to make a diagnosis. In the past, doctors depended heavily on experience and intuition, but now, with the development of diagnostic devices, they have the technology to look into a patient’s body without incision. It is true that possibility of early detection of a disease has dramatically increased, but there are cases in which the general public still misses the diagnosis, or refuses to diagnosis, due to their concern about radiation exposure. Compared to x-rays and ultrasound that see and interpret the structure or shape of tissues, a nurse technology provides the functional images to see and interpret physiological changes. So, Bello measures the quantitative values of hemoglobin, fat, and water in the subcutaneous tissues by radiating several near infrared ray. Based on the values that are analyzed by putting those data into, especially, algorithm and it finds out what changes are occurring in our body and predicts which of these is a risk of factors at high levels.
Dr. Gundry (40:22):
So, do you see this technology dominating the diagnostic market in the future? I mean, it sounds like it has tremendous potential.
Speaker 2 (40:33):
Yeah. At this moment, it cannot be said that nurse technology will replace the existing diagnostic technology. However, it’s now in the stage of conforming a scalability through clinical trials. The best example is the early detection of breast cancer. For example, when cancer of tissues are formed in the breast, new blood vessels are created. Because sugar and oxygen are consumed, repeat drops, and hydrolytic enzymes increase. By measuring the quantitative values of these changes on [inaudible 00:41:12] index can be calculated and compared with the patient’s current physical conditions.
Dr. Gundry (41:21):
And will you be initiating, or are there clinical studies, that are going to start using this for that purpose?
Speaker 2 (41:29):
Yes, we are conducting clinical studies in Korea.
Dr. Gundry (41:36):
So, would you recommend Bello users share their data with their doctors? And I might add that the Bello device is available. It’s fully approved. People can purchase the device. Would you recommend that Bello users share their data with their doctors, or how do you best make sense of the data for themselves?
Speaker 3 (42:03):
Okay. Definitely, I recommend it. We initially developed this product as a personal device, but we are working to expand it to physicians to business or platforms, such as clinics and the medical institution. Doctors and other medical professionals have indicated the value of being able to monitor a patient for metabolic risk factor without having to conduct more invasive diagnostics, but having a tool to measure and encourage patients to continue on their wellness journey. So, the best way is to use this device, is using consistently. So, I think that the starting point to understanding your own data is by measuring your fat regularly, every day, or once every two, three days, and tracking and managing how the measured data moves. And if you put this device on your desk or in a draw, it is just a cool looking gadget. However, if you use it on a daily basis and see how your condition is changing over time, it’s like having a personal trainer in the palm of your hands.
Dr. Gundry (43:26):
Yeah. I agree. It is a cool looking device and it is incredibly lightweight and ergonomic, and I was shocked, personally, with how easy it is to use, and actually, what a sophisticated device it is despite looking small and user friendly. So, congratulations on that.
Speaker 3 (43:55):
Dr. Gundry (43:56):
So, what if I’m a pretty healthy person? Is using a Bello still beneficial?
Speaker 3 (44:05):
I don’t want to say that a Bello is necessary for everyone. If you are a paragon of health and fitness and you have all the tools to maintain that kind of status, then perhaps you can do without Bello. However, as we have discussed, just because you look healthy, it is not always mean you are. So, if you are someone who cares, not only about aesthetics, but your overall metabolic health, and want a simple and reliable way to measure and improve it, then you should check out, just to place Bello on your belly, and with the press of a button, then figure out what’s happening in your body.
Dr. Gundry (44:52):
Yeah. I don’t suppose either one of you has a Bello device handy to hold up to the camera?
Speaker 3 (45:00):
Yes. Right here.
Dr. Gundry (45:01):
Aha. There they are. I mean, these are-
Speaker 3 (45:05):
It’s just pump size.
Dr. Gundry (45:07):
Yeah. They’re very small. And, like I say, the information that you get is sent to an app on your phone. And I think it’s kind of fun. I’ve purposefully tried to gain weight, and the Bello detected it, and it detected it going into my visceral fat. And then I purposefully lost that weight, and I can do that at will. And the Bello tracked it very well. So, it was not fooled, despite me, I guess, trying to fool it. So, it’s a great device. Well, this has been great. So, where can listeners learn more about Bello and your work?
Speaker 3 (46:05):
Your listeners can find out more about Bello and purchase the device on our website, but also from many other online shops including Amazon or Walmart and CVS, Lifetime Fitness Marketplace in [inaudible 00:46:19] and more places. Also, Bello has just returned with more powerful functions and enhanced the services, which is a NextGen Bello. We are currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo. In addition, a product called the Fetal that can measure and grade the mass and quality of muscles by area of interest, which has already won the Innovation Award and CES of 2022. We will launch it next year. You can find out more about our new products by visiting our online store at shop.olivehec.com.
Dr. Gundry (47:04):
Great. And we’ll put that up for our viewers to see. Well, congratulations on this technology. You’ve really, I think, brought another aspect to those of us who are interested in our personal fitness, our personal health, and it’s really easy to use, and I think it gives some important information that, here, [Dufour 00:47:32] was only available with a CAT scan or a DEXA scan, and you’re right. Most people don’t want to do that, nor should they, I think I should add. Well, both of you, thanks very much for coming on the podcast, and we’ll keep in touch, and looking forward to the next innovation from you. It’s really exciting work.
Speaker 3 (48:00):
Speaker 2 (48:00):
Thank you very much.
Speaker 3 (48:01):
Thank you for having us.
Dr. Gundry (48:02):
Thank you. It’s time for our audience question. This week’s question comes from [Mohammed Belatar 00:48:09], who says, “Thank you, sir, for all this good information. I have a question, please. What do you think about apple cider vinegar?” Well, I think apple cider vinegar is absolutely wonderful, and actually, I think vinegars in general are some of the best health promoting tools that you should use, whether you use them as shots, whether you use them in salad dressings. In my upcoming book, Unlocking the Keto Code, you’re going to see why vinegars are so important to get into your diet and get into your body. And the reason why they work, I think, is going to really surprise you. So, that’s a great question. Please enjoy your apple cider vinegar. If any of you watched my interview with Orlando Bloom, we toasted each other with shots of apple cider vinegar. He’s a big fan as well. Review of the week.
Speaker 4 (49:17):
Hi, listeners. It’s Melissa Gorga from the Real Housewives of New Jersey, and I’m so excited to announce that I’m getting into the podcast game. My new podcast, Melissa Gorga on Display, premiers December 2nd, and I want you to be the first to hear it. Catch up with me and my celebrity friends each week as we discuss fashion, entrepreneurship, being the cool mom, and the importance of treating yourself. Plus, I’ll give you the behind the lens look into my crazy life. You think you know it all from what you see on TV, but believe it or not, there are things the cameras just don’t catch. That’s right. I’m taking my life in front of the cameras and going behind the mic. So, grab a glass of red wine and a sprinkle cookie and join me as we celebrate life and style. It’s my life unfiltered. It’s Melissa Gorga on Display, available December 2nd on PodcastOne, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Speaker 2 (50:17):
This week’s review comes from [Wanda McLaughlin 00:50:20], who says, “You saved my life. I came across your Plant Paradox book three years ago. I have read it four times, as well as your longevity book. They are always out, highlighted in color flags, because I am constantly referring to them. And I also have your cookbooks. Thank you, Dr. Gundry, you truly did save my life.” Well, Wanda, thank you for writing about that. Again, this is why I do this. This is why I continue to see patients. This is why I continue to write, and this is why I do the Dr. Gundry Podcast, for people like you and all my viewers and listeners, because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you. We’ll see you next week.
Dr. Gundry (51:13):
On the Dr. Gundry Podcast, we provide a venue for discussion, and the views expressed by my guests do not necessarily reflect my own.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Dr. Gundry podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts, and if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/doctorgundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.