WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Belly fat is more than just something that makes you feel unattractive or something that’s preventing you from wearing your favorite jeans.
- Having too much fat inside the abdominal area, called visceral fat, can do harmful effects on your health.
- The fats deep inside the skin surround our internal organs and can lead to serious illnesses like cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Belly fat has long been an issue for everyone, overweight or not. Even if you’re weight is within the normal range for your height, but if you are carrying some extra pounds around your middle, it’s about time to lose them.
Several studies suggest that belly fat increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Too much abdominal fat significantly increases your potential for developing all of those diseases.
Two Types of Fat
There are two kinds of fat in your body: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the layer of fat cells under your skin, the one that you can pinch with your fingers. The more harmful kind is visceral fat. These are fat cells lying deep inside the body, surrounding your organs.
Visceral fat has a stronger effect on metabolism because blood flow from the belly area drains straight to the liver. Post-meal insulin spikes prompt your body to put on more weight, which eventually leads to diabetes.
Although the liver-draining theory is still unproven, the harmful effects of excess belly fat to your health persist. Even if you’re not morbidly obese, the fat lying deep within the abdomen, particularly on the liver, seems to greatly predict whether a person will have metabolic issues later in life.
Despite a normal Body Mass Index (BMI), your risk of death, in general, appears to be at least twice as high if you have a wide middle. A healthy waist measurement varies with height. Generally, for a woman, you’re low risk if your waist size is at 31.5 inches or below, and high risk if above 35 inches. For men, it’s 37 and 40 inches respectively.
Health experts recommend that it’s ideal to hit under 0.9 for men and 0.8 for women. These numbers, however, need to be tailored to specific ethnic groups to be relevant.
Good and Bad News
The bad news is that you can’t change your genes nor target weight loss. The only way to lose belly fat is to lose fat overall. Basically, the best way to do that is by cutting down on your caloric intake and burn more calories.
Now, the good news. Even small amounts of weight loss can have a massive effect on your overall health and on disease risk. You don’t have to be skinny, you just have to be healthier.
Source: Popular Science