7 Ways Your Pot Belly is Secretly Killing You

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Although nobody likes a flabby spare tire around their middle, sometimes it just sort of sneaks up on you. One day it seems as if you are 25, thin, and physically fit, then, well, life happens. You get busy, you stop going to the gym. The next thing you know you are in your late 30s and you realize you need to buy pants a size or two larger. You know how it is.

Or perhaps you have always had a weight problem and no matter how hard you work on eating right and exercising, that belly just doesn’t seem to disappear.

Let’s not forget all the funny names people have for those with belly fat. Jelly Belly. Muffin Top. Beer Belly. Santa Belly. Pot Belly. Spare Tire. Donut Belly, and more. Sometimes, friends and families will make up kinder names, such as saying that you aren’t fat, you are just fluffy, but you know what they really mean.

Although it’s true that people seem to take on different shapes when they gain weight, if you tend to put on your weight in the belly, then you should know that your apple shape is actually killing you. Slowly but surely, you are putting your health at risk and shortening your life.

Even just 20 extra pounds, when they are stored in the belly, can greatly increase your risk of numerous health problems. This isn’t something you should take lightly.

If you think being asked to play Buddha at Halloween is funny, keep reading. You might be shocked at what you find out.

 

1. Sleep Apnea

Having excessive belly fat can leave you susceptible to a condition known as sleep apnea. This is a serious, life threatening condition where you literally stop breathing while you are asleep, sometimes for as long as 3 minutes. There have been numerous studies linking belly fat and sleep apnea, especially for men.

 

2. Erectile Dysfunction

That’s right guys. That beer belly could be obstructing blood flow where you want it to go. It’s more than just about blood flow; belly fat also lowers testosterone. One study done in Australia showed that men who lost between 5 and 10 percent of their body weight over a two month period helped to fix their “problem.”  That’s not as much as it seems. If you weigh 200 pounds, then you only need to lose 10 pounds, which would be 5 percent. That’s 5 pounds a month, slightly more than 1 pound a week.

 

3. Diabetes

There have been several studies showing a direct connection between abdominal fat and insulin resistance. It appears to be all about location. Blood from your abdomen travels to your liver. It should be used for energy but your belly fat is getting in the way, restricting the flow of blood and the flow of insulin. Belly fat makes your livers job harder. This means that less insulin is being turned into energy. This will make your blood sugar level rise and increase your risk of developing diabetes. Read more how to manage diabetes with fruits.

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heartburn pain

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4.  Heart Disease

This one isn’t really much of a surprise, but did you know that belly fat in particular puts your heart in great danger than fat around your thighs or hips? One study found that people who had high levels of belly fat, when compared to those who had fat in other areas, had a much higher risk of developing heart disease, in fact as much as 50 percent.  Abdominal fat prevents blood from getting to your vital organs, including your heart.

 

5. Dementia

Wow. Bet you didn’t see this one coming. Studies show that consuming trans-fats can decrease cognitive function, which is bad enough by itself. However, a fat buildup around the middle is even more dangerous. One study found that just being overweight increased a person’s risk of developing dementia, with Alzheimer’s being the most common form. Another study showed that women from Sweden who were in their 70’s at the start of the study were much more likely to develop dementia when they were in their 80’s, if they had a BMI just two points higher than those who did not develop dementia. Two BMI points is only a 12 pound difference.

 

6. Cancer

It’s true. Many types of cancer, including breast, pancreatic, colon, and uterine cancer all come with a higher risk the larger your middle is. In fact, studies show that cancer can begin to develop in only 7 years from the fat deposits in your belly. Allowing fat to buildup in your midsection makes your organs work harder. This severely disrupts your hormone balance, which will put you at an even greater risk for the cancers that are stimulated by certain hormones.

 

SEE ALSO:  Top 6 Drinks That Shrink Belly Fat

 

7. Shortening Your Life

You might think that your jelly belly is just sitting there, sticking out, keeping you warm, but the truth is, it’s actually working hard…at robbing years from your life. Belly fat means that there is fat surrounding your vital organs. This layer of fat around your organs makes them all work harder and this puts you at a much greater risk for heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and more.

Packing on the pounds happens very easily and yes, it is much easier to put them on than to take them off, but it is well worth the effort. You will not only look better, but you are going to feel better than you ever remember. Make the lifestyle changes necessary to start losing that Santa belly a little bit at a time. Lay off the sugar; eat less carbs and more vegetables. Start walking just 20 minutes every day. That belly didn’t happen in a weekend and it will take more than few days to get rid of it, but you can do it! And you will be glad that you did.

References:

Clevelandclinic.org

Nia.nih.gov

Health.harvard.edu