The Severe Dangers of Belly Fat
Everywhere you look in America today you see big bellies. There's a big belly epidemic.
There are many causes of this epidemic; food laced with fat and sugar, a sedentary lifestyle,
laziness and lack of self discipline, but the root cause is very basic. Our bodies run on energy
supplied by the food we eat. Eat too much food and our bodies store the excess calories as fat.
Our bodies have two kinds of fat. The unsightly fat carried by our hips, thighs, arms
and legs, and abdominal fat colloquially known as belly fat. Unlike regular fat (technically
called subcutaneous fat) which is found just underneath the skin, belly fat (technically called
visceral fat) is located inside the peritoneal cavity, packed in between our internal organs.
Until recently, medical experts thought fat cells were simple storage units. But recent
research has revealed that belly fat is actually an active organ, like the liver or pancreas.
It secretes hormones and lipids such as triglycerides. The excess of triglycerides and fatty
acids created by visceral fat goes into the liver and accumulates there. In the liver, most
of it will be stored as fat that is harmful to the body.
The increased amount of fat in the visceral region impairs the body's ability to use
insulin, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, and triggering inflammation that can cause
heart disease. This dangerous fat is associated with a higher risk of colon, rectal, pancreatic,
endometrial, and breast cancer.
What's happening here is a vicious circle. A little fat accumulates on your belly, and
that fat secretes hormones and triglycerides that impair the body's ability to use insulin,
which causes more belly fat to accumulate. Ignore this rapidly accumulating belly fat and your
lining yourself up for health problems like diabetes and cancer. If you're accumulating belly
fat, be scared, real scared.
How do you get rid of belly fat? Many commercial programs claim that crunches, situps,
or other abdominal exercises will get rid of belly fat. Not so. It's simply a matter of balancing
calories in with energy out. When you do the standard combination of diet and exercise, belly
fat is often the first to go.
The most effective exercise to do is a cardio workout to burn calories. Running on an
inclined treadmill burns 600 - 1200 calories per hour. Simply walking on a treadmill burns
far less calories, about 300 - 400 per hour. The most effective diet is to cut back on sugars,
especially sugar-sweetened beverages, and eat more vegetables and whole grains while reducing
your total caloric intake.