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The term “love handles” applies to the layer of fat a person experiences around the midsection of the body. The pesky fat associated with love handles is particularly visible on the sides of the body over the abdominal external oblique muscles.

Difference Between Subcutaneous Fat and Visceral Fat

The term first became popular in the 1960’s and both men and women experience love handles which can lead to a negative body image.  While there have been many products touted to get rid of love handles, the only way to reduce the appearance of love handles is to be more physically active and consuming fewer calories.


A person has two forms of fat that get deposited in the abdominal area; the first type covers the abdominals and is called subcutaneous fact.  The second type is called visceral fat which lies more deeply in the abdomen beneath the muscles and surrounds vital organs.  Both forms of fat in the abdominal area are a serious health risk; however, scientists have proven having a large amount of visceral fat is more risky than subcutaneous fat.

Having a large amount of subcutaneous and visceral fat increases a person’s risk of developing heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, hypertension, various types of cancer and other diseases.  Excessive amounts of belly fat has been directly linked to higher levels of C-reactive protein, which is an inflammation in the body which increases the risk of heart disease.

Low Glycemic Diet and Love Handles

A low glycemic diet plan is one which incorporates foods that have a slower rate of digestion and absorption, which can result in a lower insulin demand on the body and improves long-term blood glucose control and blood lipids.  If a person consumes 50% of calories from carbohydrates, the body will be more stable in terms of blood sugar levels and glucose control.  A low glycemic diet plan can help a person lose weight and maintain the weight loss considerably longer than other diet plans.

Research studies have shown that people who consume a diet of low glycemic foods can experience a greater overall fat loss than those who do not.  Foods with a low glycemic index rating will release glucose into the blood more slowly and steadily, which in turn helps control appetite and reduces the incidence of overeating or eating unhealthy foods in response to a quick-fix solution for hunger.

The Atkins Diet and Love Handles

The Atkins Diet is the complete opposite of a low glycemic diet in the fact that the diet plan involves carbohydrate restriction to switch the metabolism of the body from burning glucose to use for fuel into burning stored fat for fuel.  The process of ketosis begins when the body experiences low insulin levels, caloric carbohydrates produce more blood sugar after eating and ketosis begins as a result.  During ketosis, the body experiences lipolysis which involves some of the lipid stores in fat cells begin transferred into the blood. 

The Atkins diet gained widespread notoriety during the early part of 2003, and was popular among people who were part of the low-carb craze.  Contrary to what a person might believe, the diet is not about consuming unlimited amounts of meats, fats and cheeses.  A person is required to go through four different phases while on the diet, which is designed to integrate the body and metabolism to the necessary balance of certain foods in the diet.  The diet is designed to provide the body with the right amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats needed in order to maximize fat burning and is ideal for those seeking to reduce the appearance of love handles.

Exercises to Get Rid of Love Handles

There are certain exercises which a person can perform in order to minimize or get rid of pesky love handles which include the following:

  • Leg Flutters: lying flat on the stomach, lift head slight upward and keep arms straight at the sides.  Bend the arms at the elbow and lift the knees off the floor and flutter legs back and forth.  Do three sets of twenty repetitions, take a break and do it again as often as comfortably possible.
  • Twist Crunches:  exercise works the internal and external oblique’s as well as the rectus abdominus muscles.  Lie on back with knees bent, lift head carefully and place hands behind head and do not lock fingers.  Twisting to the right side, bring the left elbow to the right knee and extend the left leg outward.  Twisting to the left, bring right elbow to the left knee and extend right leg outward.  Do twenty-five repetitions of the exercise.
  • Standing Trunk Twists:  Standing with feet 12-inches apart and keeping the knees relaxed, twist the torso to the left side while keeping hips and legs straight and stable.  Twist to the left and cross the right arm in from of the body and make a punching motion.  Twist body to the right and cross left arm over and repeat punching motion.  Do one-hundred repetitions of the exercise.


Nobody likes to have an unhealthy, out-of-shape physique; however, it is possible to improve the appearance of love handles by practicing a healthy diet and doing the right combination of exercises.  It is recommended that prior to starting a new diet or exercise program a person consults with a licensed medical professional to receive approval and to avoid any possible negative side effects.