During a recent television appearance, renowned cardiologist and author Dr. Mehmet Oz caused quite a stir by announcing that your waist measurement is the most important indicator of overall health. During the show, he explained that if your waist measurement is more than half your height (in inches), you are at serious risk for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. This announcement had many people looking at their measuring tapes not just as a way to measure their fitness, but as a way to measure their future.
Why is excess belly fat so important and what does it have to do with all of these health risks?
Excess Stomach Fat Damages Your Liver
Several recent studies on the connection between obesity (particularly excess abdomen fat) and high levels of liver fat have shown that there is a much higher rate of fatty liver in those with excess belly fat. Fatty liver is a leading indicator of several lipid and metabolic disorders and even liver cancer. In these studies, researchers investigated what makes some obese people develop lipid disorders. They found that liver fat is strongly associated with increased secretion of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), which contain the highest amount of triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides carry an increased risk of metabolic abnormalities and increased risk of heart disease and premature death.
Decreasing excess paunch fat and blood cholesterol is the recommended treatment for reducing and even reversing fatty liver.
Excess abdomen Fat Increases Insulin Resistance and Type 2 diabetes
When we eat, our food, especially carbohydrates, is broken down into glucose so that it can be used to power every cell in our bodies. However, to be used as energy rather than stored as fat, glucose requires the help of insulin.
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Its job is to serve as a key that unlocks your body's cells so that glucose can enter and be used by the cells as energy. Fat cells, particularly abdominal fat cells, lessen the sensitivity to insulin, making it harder for glucose to pass through cell walls. Because the glucose can't enter the cells, it remains in the bloodstream (high blood sugar). The pancreas responds by producing and releasing more insulin. This cycle repeats itself and grows worse over time. This is what leads to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Excess Belly Fat Greatly Increases the Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
Because belly fat is so close to the liver (and often accompanied by excess fat directly surrounding the liver), it boosts production of LDL cholesterol (the one we don't want boosted!). This cholesterol eventually becomes a waxy substance known as plaque, which sticks to artery walls and eventually causes swelling, narrowing the arteries. This narrowing increases blood pressure, which seriously taxes the heart. It also increases your chance of blood clots, which can cause stroke.
Excess Belly Fat Increases the Risk of Dementia
Excess belly fat has even been linked to an increased risk of dementia. In fact, excess belly fat increases your risk of developing dementia by as much as 145%! This is a result of the same inflammation in the artery walls, which decreases proper blood flow to the brain.
With all of the serious health risks linked to belly fat, it's easy to see that getting rid of excess belly fat should be a very high priority. Fortunately, while we have lots of "scary" research that shows the risks of stomach fat, we also have all of the new research that shows us how to get rid of belly fat quickly, easily and permanently.
Identifying The Two Kinds of Belly Fat
There are actually two kinds of paunch fat: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous means under the skin. This is the fat you can see and pinch, since it's just below the skin layer.
Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds your vital organs. In the case of abdominal fat, your liver is most commonly affected.
Excess subcutaneous fat around the abdomen is usually accompanied by excess visceral fat around the liver.
The good news: The stomach Fat Diet plan attacks BOTH types of belly fat.