Take charge of your health: Know the dangers of belly fat

Take charge of your health: Know the dangers of belly fat
White bread is among the processed foods that contribute most to belly fat. (contributed)

It is now firmly established that not all body fat is created equal when it comes to making us sick.  Although we may not like the appearance of fat deposited on our arms, legs, hips, and thighs, this fat is a rather benign metabolic slug that basically just its sits there.

This is in sharp contrast to the fat deposited within the abdominal cavity, also known as visceral fat that gives rise to the “pot belly” appearance that has sadly become the national norm, especially for adult males and post-menopausal females.

Dr. Ann calls belly fat the “Tasmanian Devil Fat” because of how destructive it is to health compared to other body fats. (contributed)

I call this fat the Tasmanian Devil Fat because we now recognize that it is highly active metabolically, secreting a huge array of nasty chemicals that can do the following: Promote inflammation, block arteries, cause blood clots, increase blood pressure, promote insulin resistance, promote cellular growth, raise bad blood fats (LDL cholesterol, triglycerides) and lower good (HDL) cholesterol.

Real-life translation: heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and accelerated aging.

Strive to the follow these anti-belly fat strategies:

  • Exercise as much and as often as possible.If you don’t accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week, you are virtually guaranteed to accumulate belly fat.  (I can always tell who is active and who is not active enough by looking at their bellies.)
  • Eat tons of nonstarchy veggies and fruits.
  • Enjoy beans daily.
  • Avoid the Great White Hazards: white flour, white rice, white potatoes and sugar.  These foods are belly fat magnets.  Substitute whole grains instead.
  • Avoid trans fat and saturated fats. These are the Tasmanian Devil’s favorite foods.
  • Include omega 3 fats in your diet regularly. These happy fats are the Taz’s bane.

For optimal health, maintain your waist size (measured at the level of the hips) in the following ranges:

  • Males, less than 36 inches (panic zone 40 inches or more).
  • Females, less than 32 inches (panic zone 35 inches or more).

Dr. Ann Kulze is founder and CEO of Just Wellness and has a knack for breaking down the science of healthy eating and living into simple and easily digestible messages. She has been featured on “Dr. Oz,” “Oprah and Friends,” WebMD and U.S. News & World Report. Alabama NewsCenter is publishing advice from Dr. Ann.

Related Stories