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Belly Fat Can Kill You!

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.
Dear Dr. Levister: Is it true having a big belly can lead to other health problems? B.T.

Dear B.T. In gyms, playing fields, beaches, and bedrooms across the country, our bodies are constantly being measured. And in dressing room mirrors and on bathroom scales, we’re constantly measuring ourselves.

But let’s set aside those vanity measurements and concentrate on the dangers of belly fat.

Having a “spare tire” doesn’t just look bad – belly fat can kill you. Too much body fat can be dangerous, raising our risk of a number of serious diseases.

Researchers are now finding that its not just excess fat that can wreak havoc on health – it’s also where our body stores fat.

There’s clearly evidence that those who have excess abdominal fat are at risk for diabetes and heart disease. Belly fat also known as visceral fat, is associated with increases in blood pressure,  cholesterol, and glucose levels. Therefore, people with fat concentrated in the waist have a greater risk of

hypertension, coronary heart disease, and diabetes than individuals who carry extra pounds

in their hips, buttocks and thighs. The average American has about 30 billion fat cells each of them is filled with greasy substances called lipids.

When you pump doughnuts, corn chips and Snickers bars into your system those fat cells can expand – up to 1,000 times their original size. Overtime  those cells start behaving like a long-running sitcom. They don’t go away.

It is believed that visceral fat is more dangerous because it encases vital organs and is metabolized by the liver, which turns it into blood cholesterol.

Like many other physical traits, genetics plays a part in an individual’s propensity toward a bigger belly. But don’t blame your family tree just yet.

Inactive people who eat large amounts of saturated fats – are likely to have larger stores of visceral fat. For women, a waist size of more than 35 inches signals potential trouble. Both diet and exercise affect the amount of visceral fat deposited around the waist.

The best way to banish a big belly is to eat fat-burning foods, which include lean proteins, fibrous carbohydrates and whole grains along with a regular dose of interval cardio exercise. Your healthcare professional can help you set up a diet and exercise plan that is safe and effective for you.

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