There is one thing a person can do to help reverse six different diseases: reduce body fat in the trunk area. 

Most Americans have excess body fat in their mid-section. That fat is metabolically active causing a host of medical problems including: 

1. Overweight and obesity

This is the obvious problem of excess body fat. 

2. Prediabetes

70 percent of Americans are considered overweight or obese; an elevated blood sugar accompanies that. For the first 30 years of my career starting in 1971, a fasting blood sugar between 60 and 90 was considered normal. With the current overweight and obesity epidemic, most Americans have a fasting blood sugar over 90, so the normal range was changed to 70 to 100. A normal range does not mean a healthy range; it just means what most people have without being labeled as having a disease. We know that a fasting blood sugar below 90 is the healthiest and prevents many problems, including cognitive decline. The recognized range for prediabetes is a fasting blood sugar of 100-125.

3. Type 2 diabetes

First diagnosed around 1890, type 2 diabetes already accounted for 80 percent of people with diabetes by 1971. It occurred almost exclusively in adults and was referred to as adult-onset diabetes. Today, it comprises 95 percent of all diabetics in America, and with the prevalence of excess body fat, overweight children are also being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

4. Fatty liver disease

As body fat in the trunk collects, more of it spreads into the liver causing liver inflammation and damage. This is referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Today in America, more chronic liver disease (such as cirrhosis) is caused by a fatty liver than alcoholism or hepatitis.

5. Hyperlipidemia

Body fat in the trunk leads to an unhealthy lipid profile with its increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

6. Hypertension

High blood pressure is the most common chronic disease in America and a leading cause of heart attack and stroke. With every 10 pounds of weight gain, blood pressure goes up. The good news is that with every 10 pounds of weight loss, the blood pressure and risks go down. 

All of these diseases together are referred to by a general diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. People with metabolic syndrome become unhealthy and die much earlier than those without this condition.

What is the most effective way to reduce body fat and reverse these diseases? 

An excellent place to start is with a body composition profile that analyzes the body’s major structural components: muscle mass, fat and bone. Technology like InBody and others (possibly available at your primary care physician’s office) can identify a baseline and help you set goals to achieving a leaner physique.

How do we do that? Body fat is stored energy; it only goes away if it is burned. The body is like a hybrid car with two energy sources – sugar and fat. Sugar, which comes from all carbohydrates, is the body’s first choice ready energy source. A person only becomes a fat burner after the sugar has been burned off. That is why low carbohydrate diets with intermittent fasting work best. 

Most Americans consume more carbohydrates than they burn and the excess turns into fat for energy storage. Carbs make a person fat, not eating fats (see Mark Hyman’s book Eat Fat, Get Thin). Exercise is also helpful in burning off energy and helps a person become a fat burner sooner. Exercising while consuming sugar such as energy drinks will not result in fat burning.

Becoming fat in America comes from following the cultural norms of fast food, sweets and soda. Sugar and carbs are the most profitable food commodities and they are addicting. Becoming a healthy fat burner means breaking out of these cultural norms, overcoming sugar addictions, and choosing a healthy diet and lifestyle. Best yet, the six diseases listed above and the number of medications required are greatly reduced, resulting in a longer, healthier life.

Joseph Scherger, MD, MPH is co-founder of Restore Health in Indian Wells. For more information, visit or call (760) 408.2720.

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