Hidden dangers of belly fat

January 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog

I don’t think I’ll be shocking you out of your chair today if I say that most people associate apples with good health.

After all they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, low in calories and have even earned the reputation of “keeping the doctor away.”

That is, unless you’re talking about having an apple body shape.  That’s a completely different story.

Having a concentration of fat around your middle (also known by the nicknames “spare tire” or “muffin top”) can spell many a hazard that goes far beyond needing to buy “plus” sizes or having to lie on the bed just to zip your jeans.

Let’s take a closer look at the apple figure…including a couple serious new health dangers associated with this body type.

It’s all in your triglycerides

Fat accumulation anywhere on your body is a perfect illustration of your triglycerides in action.

Now, most people are pretty familiar with cholesterol, but kind of scratch their heads when asked about triglycerides.

Simply put, triglycerides are your body’s main type of fat. They’re the primary form in which your body stores energy for future use.

They also insulate and protect your internal organs and store your body’s reserves of essential fatty acids. 

So, similar to cholesterol, triglycerides are NOT necessarily the demons that people think they are.

The trouble with triglycerides arises when you have WAY too many…and begin to resemble a Macintosh.

High triglycerides + an apple figure = increased heart disease risk

Having high blood levels of triglycerides in and of itself increases your risk of heart disease by damaging your artery walls.

The danger is like what happens when you don’t regularly change the oil in your car.

When neglected, both human blood and engine oil get thick, which makes the heart (or engine) have to work harder to pump the fluid (blood or oil). The fluid also picks up excess debris and forms harmful deposits, which eventually cause a breakdown.

A car engine will burn up.  In humans, the result is a heart attack or a stroke.

And having an apple figure seriously multiplies your risk!

You see, if you’re an apple, you’re also very likely to have metabolic syndrome symptoms, including high blood pressure, insulin resistance and high blood lipids. In other words, you’re at much greater risk of diabetes and heart disease.

For men with diabetes AND the apple figure, the risk for heart disease goes up two and a half times. For women with diabetes and this shape, it rises EIGHT times!

Here’s why that happens:

Fat cells located in your abdomen release fat into the blood more easily than fat cells found elsewhere in your body. Release of fat in the middle begins just 3 to 4 hours after you eat, compared to many more hours for other fat cells.

This quick, easy release shows up as elevated triglyceride levels in your bloodstream—and you get the artery damage and “thickened” blood like I described above.

But wait—there’s more!

Unfortunately the health dangers of having an apple shape don’t stop with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Your kidneys are on the radar too.

Researchers in the Netherlands have found that having an apple figure can significantly raise your risk of kidney disease–even if your “apple” is on the small side and you’re not grossly overweight!

While a connection between obesity and kidney disease has long been proven, this recent study (published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology) is the first to show how even a small increase in belly fat begins to strain your kidneys, reducing the blood flow to them and raising the local blood pressure within them.

Since your kidneys are responsible for filtering dangerous toxins out of your bloodstream and eliminating them through your urine, when they’re under stress you become increasingly toxic…and this makes you the perfect home for disease to flourish.

And even MORE!

People with extra abdominal fat are also three times more likely than slim individuals to develop memory loss and dementia later in life.

Here’s why, according to a recent study published in the journal Cell Reports:

The liver and the memory center of your brain (known as the hippocampus) share a need for a certain protein called PPARalpha. Your liver uses PPARalpha to burn belly fat and the hippocampus uses PPARalpha to process memory.

Well, if you’re an apple shape with a lot of belly fat, your liver needs to work overtime trying to metabolize all that fat, and in doing so, it hogs your body’s supplies of PPARalpha—starting by first depleting nearby stores of it and then eventually raiding the rest of your body including your brain.

Eventually your hippocampus ends up starving for PPARalpha, and this can hamper your memory and learning. 

Shrink your “Granny Smith” and reduce your risk!

Hopefully you’ve gotten the idea by now that having elevated blood triglyceride levels and an apple figure isn’t the best idea in the world.

It can cost you your memory, your kidneys or even your life!

The good news is, you can help turn this process around and get on a track to better health.

Step one is to be aware of the “formula” that causes elevated triglycerides and an apple figure to begin with:

  1. Eating too many refined carbohydrates such as white flour, processed grains, sweets, and other sugar-containing foods, plus
  2. Eating too many saturated fats, especially trans-fats, plus
  3. Having too few antioxidants in your system

How you can turn it around

The best way to help beat high triglycerides and resemble a humannot a fruit–is using this two-part approach:

Part 1- Limit your intake of refined carbs and saturated fats, avoid trans-fats at ALL cost, and eat more foods that contain natural antioxidants.

Part 2- Supplement with Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids can safely lower blood triglyceride levels by up to 65%!

Studies have shown that people who maintain a rich supply of Omega-3 EFAs remain free of cardiovascular disease and other degenerative conditions far longer than those with lower Omega-3 levels.

That translates into feeling GREAT well into your golden years.

Plus Omega-3 EFAs are absolutely crucial for proper brain functioning—which was another concern above associated with an apple figure

OK, all you apples out there—it’s time to do something NOW about that belly fat of yours.

Believe me, your body will return the favor many times over…plus it just might save your life.

And that’s quite a holiday gift, isn’t it?

To your health,

Sherry Brescia

   

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