Your scale has been lying to you. And your Body Mass Index (BMI) hasn’t been giving it to you entirely straight either.
Neither number reflects the REAL killer threat that could be hiding in plain sight on your body. And that’s BELLY fat.
It turns out where your body fat is located is often far more critical than how much of it you have. If that fat is hanging out in the right places, you could even be a bit chubby without too much worry.
But if that blubber is squatting in the wrong spot, your cardiovascular risks shoot right through the roof. In fact, you could even be basically slim and trim and STILL be a heart attack waiting to happen.
The hidden danger of belly fat
I’m just going to give it to you straight. If you’ve got some jelly in the belly, then you’re likely facing some serious heart risk.
That’s true if you’re overweight or obese, of course. But a new study finds that skyrocketing heart risk can be true even if you have a perfectly normal weight and BMI.
Fat located elsewhere, on the other hand, doesn’t pose nearly as much of a threat. A little extra “junk in the trunk,” for example, might be no big deal if you don’t have that excess belly fat.
Belly fat, or what doctors call visceral fat, can crowd your organs and mess with your metabolism. In turn, that can then lead to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.
This same belly fat has been shown to…
- raise inflammation
- damage blood vessels
- harm organs (especially the liver)
As a result, the new study confirms that belly fat can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Focus on whittling down your waistline
I have to warn you. If you’re on the thinner side, visceral fat can sometimes hide pretty well. You may not even know it’s there, lurking below your belly button and threatening your heart.
But in general, a bigger waistline means more belly fat. And that’s why the waist-to-hip ratio is often a better indicator of metabolic health than your weight on the scale or BMI alone.
Here’s how you figure it out….
- Wrap a cloth measuring tape around your body just above your belly button. That’s the waist part of the equation.
- Then, wrap it around yourself right where you’re the widest – right where the hipbone juts out. That’s your hip
For men, the waist should be about 90 percent of your hips. Ladies, your waist should be about 85 percent of your hips.
Higher than that, and you’re facing health problems. And it’s not just your heart that belly fat puts at risk. Previous research has found a higher waist-to-hip ratio can also lead to dementia. I wrote about that link just last month. Click here to catch up.
Boosting your activity level, including some exercise that targets your midsection, and cutting out all ultra-processed foods could help you whittle away at belly fat.
But don’t stop there. Science says there are other easy steps you can take that could help melt that belly blubber too ….
- drinking two to three cups of coffee a day
- boosting sagging vitamin D levels
- taking a daily probiotic
If none of those things help to improve your waist-to-hip ratio hormonal issues could be behind that stubborn belly fat. A naturopathic or integrative medicine doctor can check your levels and help you get you on the right track in a flash.