There are amazing secrets for reducing belly fat, some even advertised on this here blog. Daily RFT has never actually clicked on any of those ads, mostly because we're afraid there will be a giant paywall on the other side. (If these amazing tips are available for free, please let us know.) But we may have to rethink the whole thing, because we've just learned that a Mizzou prof is getting in on the belly fat-reduction racket.
The only difference is that James Perfield, an assistant professor of food science, is willing to share his secret, because that is how they roll in academia and also because it's unlikely the rest of us mere mortals can get our hands on some sterculic oil. It's extracted from the seeds of the Sterculia foetida tree, also known as the bastard poon tree, which is probably the awesomest name for a tree ever. (Sadly, you can't have one for your backyard unless you're in east Africa, India or north Australia.)
Belly fat mostly contains adipose fat, the fat that's stored for energy. Adipose can be useful, but when there's too much of it, it produces an enzyme that makes the body resistant to insulin, the substance that keeps blood sugar at a healthy level. The pancreas goes into overdrive to produce more insulin to compensate, but eventually it gets worn down and diabetes sets in.
Sterculic oil, however, contains fatty acids that suppress the insulin-resistance enzyme. Perfield gave some as a dietary supplement to lab rats that are disposed to have jiggly bellies. Over the course of thirteen weeks, the lab rats lost some of their belly fat and were less likely to develop diabetes.
"This research paves the way for potential use in humans," Perfield said in a press release. "Reducing belly fat is a key to reducing the incidence of serious disease, and this oil could have a future as a nutritional supplement."
Naturally, Perfield hopes to be the one to develop said nutritional supplement. He plans to conduct further experiments to check for side effects and also to see if the oil from trees other than the bastard poon are as effective.