New research continues to show that visceral adipose tissue, commonly referred to as the much dreaded “belly fat,” is responsible for many deadly diseases. This article should help give you the scientific backing and motivation to lose that extra weight around the midsection that can be so difficult to get rid of for good.
In a recent lecture at the American Diabetes Association’s Annual Scientific Sessions, Dr. Robert Henry explained that the fat deposits created by extra calories that aren’t burned off actually become a toxic organ surrounding your stomach, liver and intestines.
The belly and abdomen can be a tricky area to trim down, but several studies have found that belly fat increases the risks for developing diseases from diabetes and heart disease to cancer.
One of the main reasons behind such an increase in health risks from body fat is due to C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP causes toxic inflammation in the body, and when fatty deposits build up around your organs, they secrete even more CRP – leading to chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation caused by body fat is linked to a lowered immune system, cancer, diabetes, as well as heart and liver disease.
The American Heart Association states that only 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of weight loss has been shown to lower CRP level. These C-reactive proteins in the blood can be sampled as an indication for the amount of inflammation present in the body. CRP levels over 3mg/L put you at high risk for cardiovascular disease – such as arterial plaque build-up, heart attack and stroke.
Another study found that the main cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NFLD) is caused by extra visceral fat and high body mass index (BMI).
“Weight reduction is usually recommended as the first line management of NAFLD even in patients with normal BMI, because the majority of these patients have increased visceral fat.”(1)
Cerebrovascular disease (stroke risk), caused by blocked blood vessels in the brain, can also be caused by too much body fat.
“The percentage of visceral adipose tissue by itself has to be regarded as a risk factor for both small vessel cerebrovascular disease and cerebral atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to fat build-up) of the large-to-medium-sized arteries.”(2)
Body mass index and extra belly fat have been proven time and again to increase risks for all of these preventable health problems.
This doesn’t just apply to people who are obese – even mildly overweight individual’s risks go up with their amount of body fat.
With the AMA recommending that losing just 1 kilogram of body weight will lower your chances of developing so many life-threatening diseases, it’s important to put your long term health in perspective.
The best way to lose weight, lower body fat and live a long and healthy life is by making regular exercise and nutritious food choices a priority.
Metabolism is a simple process to understand – whatever calories you consume that are not worked off will end up being stored as fat.
Even if exercise is not a part of your normal routine, eating well should be. Avoid calorie-dense foods that are high in fats and sugars. While lean meats are part of a healthy diet, stay away from fried foods and too many sweets. Walking 30 minutes a few times a week is a great way to burn more calories and keep belly fat from sneaking up on you.
Source: (1)Koda, M., Kawakami, M., Murawaki, Y., & Senda, M. (2007). The impact of visceral fat in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Journal Of Gastroenterology, 42(11), 897-903.
(2)Karcher, H., Holzwarth, R., Mueller, H., Ludolph, A., Huber, R., Kassubek, J., & Pinkhardt, E. (2013). Body fat distribution as a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease: an MRI-based body fat quantification study. Cerebrovascular Diseases (Basel, Switzerland), 35(4), 341-348. doi:10.1159/000348703
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