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There are many nicknames for a large abdomen like ‘Muffin Top’, ‘Pot Belly’, ‘Spare Tire’, and ‘Love Handles’, just to name a few. All ease the psychological pain - allow you to avoid the term fat but that don’t mean you are going to be alright.
Not only are big bellies ugly, they are unhealthy, as well. If your weight is primarily accumulated around your mid-section, learning to live with it is a dangerous option. You are actually dying from it. Research provides us with evidence that big bellies increase our risk for many chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, insulin resistance, diabetes, and cancer. There is no way around it, belly fat is unhealthy and it is dangerous.

New Research Confirms:  Belly Fat is Unhealthy - Period

The Mayo Clinic produced one of the largest studies to date concerning belly fat. Researchers studied 16,000 people with coronary artery disease around the world and found that those who had coronary artery disease and central obesity had twice the risk of dying. This was one of the largest studies of its kind and the findings refuted the obesity paradox. This is a finding in previous studies that show patients with a higher BMI and chronic diseases had a better survival odd than normal-weight individuals. The lead researcher, Dr. Thais Coutinho, tells us that disease is more related to the way the fat is distributed on the body rather than the measure of weight in proportion to height. In other words, belly fat is very unhealthy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (yeah, the CDC), more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. That’s 72 million people! And of these obese people, many have accumulated belly fat.

Dr. Harvey Simon of Harvard Medical School tells us that when it comes to belly fat, there are two kinds to worry about.

One is the subcutaneous fat that piles around your midsection. The other is the visceral fat, the substance that is hidden beneath your abdominal muscles. The visceral fat allow for a wide array of hormones and other substances to be poured into our bloodstream. The inflammatory chemicals that arise from the visceral fat cells are what researchers say contributes to the chronic disease development.

Fiber Fights the Fat

There is new research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that has found increasing soluble fiber in the diet decreases visceral fat stores. This was achieved during a five-year study of people who ate 10 grams of soluble fiber per day. The belly fat in these subjects was reduced by almost 4% over the five-year time frame. The lead researcher, Kristen Hairston, M.D., stated “We know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and fatty liver disease and our study found that making a few simple changes can have a big impact.”

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Bonebright, M. (2011). Study: Soluble fiber can zap unhealthy belly fat. Retrieved from Personal Liberty
  • Choopra, D. (2011). Weekly health tip: What’s so bad about belly fat? Huffingtonpost
  • Durango Herald. (2011). Cut the fat: Fiber found to help your battle.
  • e-lifestyle.com (2010). Belly fat- How to prevent and lose belly fat.
  • Science Daily (2011). A little belly fat can double the risk of death in coronary artery disease patients.
  • Photo courtesy of Virginia Zuluaga on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/virginiazuluaga/3638022959/Photo by steadyhealth.com