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By: Adam MacDougall | In: Losing the Gut

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That bulging belly hanging over your belt is your wake-up call. Here are 6 reasons why you should seriously consider doing something about it.

1. It’s the worst kind of fat

Belly fat is the visceral fat found between your organs. Beer doesn’t necessarily lead to belly fat. It's the consumption of too many calories in combination with the beer that causes the belly hanging over your pants. The reason is that your liver prioritises burning alcohol before metabolising fat, leading to more fat stored in the body. A waistline over 40 inches puts you in the high risk category for visceral fat-induced diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Those individuals who are at their normal weight, but who have concentrated “central” obesity (i.e. around the belly) were more than 50% likely to die from all causes compared to those who were obese, according to results of a 14 year study recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology on August 27, 2012.

2. It’s linked to Erectile Dysfunction (ED).

As Dolly Parton once said “nothing grows in the shade” and the same is true for men with large guts hanging over their belts. It’s not just in older men either. Younger men with diabetes can have ED issues 10 or more years earlier than the average man, which can be a complication from diabetes.

Since belly fat is linked to pre-diabetes, diabetes and syndrome X, another side effect of these conditions is erectile dysfunction occurring in as many as 25-75% of men that are diabetic. One of the reasons for this is that these conditions damage nerves and blood vessels involved in arousal.

3. It dramatically raises your risk of being diabetic.

Visceral or “belly fat” is metabolically different from other types of fat in your body and may promote ‘insulin resistance’ - a state where your blood sugar rises (diabetes) because your cells cannot respond to insulin (which ultimately lowers your blood sugar). Visceral or belly fat is highly active metabolically and can be a contributing factor in development of insulin resistance.

In Singapore, researchers did a study on close to 2,000 people with diabetes, and 643 that developed it by the very young age of 33. The researchers found a significant link between belly fat and diabetes risk, especially diabetes while the patient was still in his or her 30s.

4. It’s bad for your heart

One of the biggest reasons to get rid of your gut is that it produces enormous stress on your heart. As your body mass index rises (especially as a result of belly fat), it strongly increases your risk of coronary heart disease, where plaque begins to build up in the arteries. This slows down the ability of your heart to receive blood and oxygen.

When this plaque has built up sufficiently, clogging occurs. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a full-on heart attack. A beer belly doubles your risk of heart disease of any form. Over time this can also lead to stroke and other complications.

5. It worsens hormonal problems

Excess belly fat (and overall fat) is directly linked to much higher levels of oestrogen in the body. So the more fat you have, typically the higher the oestrogen levels. Excess belly fat can dramatically increase oestrogen in men to the point where negative health issues start cropping up.

Health issues for men include the development of “man boobs,” problems with arousal, lack of energy as well as mood and sleep issues due to the lower levels of testosterone.

6. It increases the chances of getting dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Men who have large bellies (especially later in life) have a whopping 250% increase in their chances of getting dementia or showing serious signs of cognitive decline.

Another study from Boston University School of Medicine determined that excess belly fat may actually cause dementia and Alzheimer’s. The protein that metabolises fat in the liver is the same protein found in the brain that controls memory and learning, and a problem with belly fat is that it depletes this critical enzyme in both places. So not only does belly fat result in physical issues and major health complications, it also ruins your brain.

There’s nothing fun about growing a pair of man boobs, having a bulging gut, not being able to play with your kids or do the things you enjoy, and more importantly, getting sick and ultimately dying early. The good news is your situation is reversible and the solution is simpler than you think.

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Tagged with: Losing the Gut