Yoram Yasur Blume: Health risks of abdominal fat
Spare wheel, beer belly, apple shape, pregnant belly… Whatever you call it, the excess fat around the middle section is bad news, and not just because it makes your jeans uncomfortable.
Abdominal fat, or what experts call visceral fat, is a particularly dangerous type of fat that forms inside the abdomen. It surrounds internal organs, such as the liver and intestines and, although the dangers are fully understood, it has been shown to contribute to inflammation and insulin resistance.
Belly fat vs other fat
Yoram Yasur Blume: Visceral fat, sometimes called hard fat, is different from subcutaneous or soft fat, which is the type that is directly under the skin. Subcutaneous fat is fat that can be pinched. Unlike visceral fat, it is found outside your organs.
Since visceral fat lives deep in the abdomen, it is not always easy to tell if you have too much. You may have too much abdominal fat even with a normal BMI. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the waist circumference instead of the number on the scale.
Dangers of having too much abdominal fat
Increasingly, experts are learning that visceral fat can present significant health risks. We present the most serious ones that you should consider to rethink your lifestyle.
– Diabetes: Yoram Yasur Blume: There seems to be a close relationship between excess abdominal fat and the risk of developing type II diabetes, according to research published in February 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. One reason may be that visceral fat produces cytokines, which are harmful chemicals in the immune system that can make cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin that regulate blood sugar.
– High blood pressure: Yoram Yasur Blume: Cytokines produced by visceral fat do not only affect insulin levels. They can also affect the ability of cells to regulate blood pressure. Among the many studies that relate abdominal fat to high blood pressure, is research published in April 2017, in the journal Heart, which followed more than 10,000 Chinese adults for six years. He found that only a 5% increase in weight circumference increased the risk of hypertension by 34% for men and 28% for women.
– Heart attack: Yoram Yasur Blume: Having too much body fat in general can increase the risk of heart attack. But abdominal fat can be particularly dangerous because it pumps fatty acids that tell the liver to produce more bad cholesterol and less good cholesterol, according to Harvard Health Publishing. In fact, an important study published in February 2018, in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that adults who had more weight surrounding the middle section were more likely to suffer a heart attack compared to those who simply weighed more In general
– Dementia: Too much abdominal fat could also affect brain function. A study of almost 900,000 older adults published in Obesity magazine found that waist circumferences of more than 89 cm for men and 84 cm for women were linked to a significantly higher risk of dementia, regardless of age, BMI, pressure arterial, cholesterol, liver health or other lifestyle factors. According to the researchers, that could be due to the ability of visceral fat to increase inflammation throughout the body.
– Asthma: Yoram Yasur Blume: Several studies have found a link between a pronounced abdomen and the risk of asthma, even in people who have a normal body weight in general. Higher levels of inflammation are part of that fault. But having more fat in the abdominal cavity could make it hard for the lungs to take as much oxygen as they really need.
– Cancer: Research has linked excess abdominal fat with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. A study published in October 2016 in the European Journal of Cancer found that women whose waistlines had the same circumference as their hips were up to four times more likely to develop breast cancer compared to women with smaller waistlines.
How can you get rid of abdominal fat?
In general, excess abdominal fat is particularly bad for your health. The good news is that losing it is not that complicated. In fact, it is the easiest type of fat to lose.
Yoram Yasur Blume: Regardless of whether you are trying to burn your belly or stop getting fat in any other part of the body, the tips are reduced to eating a healthy diet and exercising. Reduce calorie intake by keeping your portions under control and try to be active every day. Resistance training is probably more useful than doing cardio alone to replace fat with muscle mass.