TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH: There’s no magic bullet to put belly fat in check

By Dr. Keith Roach

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 70-year-old woman, mostly healthy (apart from well-controlled high blood pressure). Looking at me, people assume I am skinny, but I have a well-concealed HUGE belly along with my thin arms and legs. I look like an olive stuck with toothpicks. My diet is healthy for the most part: I eat snack foods, deep-fried fast foods or sweets only rarely. I have read about how to eliminate belly fat, but there is so much contradictory info, each claiming to be the best. What are truly effective ways to help eliminate belly fat? — M.H.


ANSWER: First, I would want to be sure what you have really is belly fat. While there are men (and a few women) who have that body shape due to fat, I have seen far too many cases of liver disease (where the abdominal cavity is filled with fluid due to high pressure in the liver) and ovarian cancer (where the abdomen is filled with fluid due to tumor). I would want to be sure you had been evaluated for these (and other) concerns, especially if this is a change in your normal body shape.

If it is abdominal fat, there is no magic diet. What works for someone else (even your twin sister, if you had one) might not work for you. For this reason, one single type of diet does not fit all. It may take patience and trying several different options before finding what works for you.

General advice includes avoiding the foods you noted you eat sparingly. Eat lots of vegetables and whole grains with fiber; modest amounts of fruits; several servings of nuts and fish weekly; and no more than modest amounts of meats. Advice from an expert in weight management may be of great benefit.


DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a lot of moisture in my eyes. I have to keep wiping them. My previous doctor gave me a prescription eyedrop that helped. After I moved, my new doctor didn’t give me the same thing. I got “dry eye” drops, which didn’t help at all. Do you have a solution? — W.L.


ANSWER: It is not intuitive that watery eyes can be a symptom of dry eyes, but it is indeed often the case. Eye lubrication may come from several parts of the eye, including the conjunctiva (a tissue that lines the insides of the eyelids), which secretes a mucus that lasts a long time and keeps the eyes comfortably moist. When the mucus production is inadequate in quantity or quality, the eyes get dry. When they become dry and irritated, one of the body’s responses is to increase tear production from the lacrimal gland, which is what you are wiping away. The fluid from the lacrimal gland is not as long-lasting nor comfortable.

There are many different kinds of treatments for dry eyes. Artificial teardrops (these can be used every few hours) are a great place to start and perfectly adequate for most. Since those have failed, it’s time to try something new. I’d recommend going back to the eye doctor with the name of the prescription medicine you had from your previous doctor. If you don’t recall what it was, call your old pharmacy.


Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual questions, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to


© 2022 North America Synd., Inc.

All Rights Reserved

TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH: Treat leg swelling with horse chestnuts?

TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH: Her lack of perspiration has reader in a sweat