Signs Your Abdominal Fat is “Leading to Disease” — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


Having excess abdominal fat can be a sign of poor health and can lead to a variety of diseases. It is important to be aware of the signs that your abdominal fat is leading to disease so that you can take steps to reduce your risk. This article will discuss the signs that your abdominal fat is leading to disease and provide tips on how to reduce your risk. We will also discuss the importance of eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly to help reduce your risk of developing diseases associated with abdominal fat.

Signs Your Abdominal Fat is “Leading to Disease” — Eat This Not That

Having excess abdominal fat can be a sign of serious health risks. It can lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. It’s important to be aware of the signs that your abdominal fat is leading to disease so that you can take steps to reduce your risk.

Signs of Abdominal Fat Leading to Disease

  • You have a large waist circumference.
  • You have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher.
  • You have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.8 or higher.
  • You have a waist-to-height ratio of 0.5 or higher.
  • You have a high level of triglycerides in your blood.
  • You have a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You have high levels of insulin in your blood.

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

If you have any of the signs listed above, it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk of developing serious health problems. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars.
  • Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, try to lose weight gradually.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Manage stress.
  • Get regular check-ups with your doctor.

By taking these steps, you can reduce your risk of developing serious health problems related to abdominal fat.

If your waist measures 35 or more inches as a woman or 40 or more inches as a man, you may have a dangerous amount of abdominal fat—also known as visceral fat. “Visceral fat coats some of your internal organs and hangs down like an apron from your large intestine,” says gastroenterologist Samuel Klein, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “It’s associated with an increased risk of metabolic diseases, including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease.” Here are five signs your belly fat is dangerous. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

drinking beer

Abdominal fat which is hard and protruding is particularly concerning. “A person with a very firm beer belly is at even higher risk for health problems,” says Daniel Allan, MD. “That is because it is typically caused by a high accumulation of internal organ (or visceral) fat. This is the fat that is located in the organs themselves and between the organs inside your abdomen. It is packed in tightly and, as it builds up, it will push the abdominal wall outward, exaggerating the appearance of the beer belly. The abdominal wall itself is made of muscle and tough fibrous tissues and is very firm; thus the belly will feel hard.”

Nutritionist inspecting a woman's waist using a measuring tape to prescribe a weight loss diet

Long-term abdominal fat is linked to various cancers for both men and women. “There are not only cardiovascular risks in the long-term causing heart attacks and strokes down the road,” says Dr. Ray Schilling. “There is a danger of fat deposits in the liver, called fatty liver disease. In time this can turn into liver cirrhosis and in some cases develop into liver cancer. Because belly fat causes inflammation in the system including in the lining of the blood vessels, this can in time also affect the immune system, weakening it and eventually allowing cancer to develop. Common cancers that are associated with obesity are breast cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer in women, prostate cancer in men and pancreas and colon cancer in both sexes.”

patient consulting with doctor on tablet

It’s possible to be slender and still carry dangerous visceral fat. “I see these people all the time,” says Dr. Daniel Neides, medical director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “On the outside they look incredibly healthy, but on the inside they’re a wreck.”

fast food items

Visceral fat is closely linked with a bad diet—so if you aren’t following a healthy diet (for example, the Mediterranean diet), chances are your belly fat will only get worse. “When you’re eating a diet high in sugar and processed foods, it causes visceral fat storage, and that can lead to all sorts of risk factors of being overweight,” says Dr. Mark Hyman.

mature man outdoor fitness demonstrating how you can boost your metabolism and lose weight

If regular exercise isn’t a part of your lifestyle, there’s little to no doubt your belly fat is dangerous and could lead to serious health issues. “Visceral fat can affect local organs or the entire body system. Systemically it can affect your heart and liver, as well as abdominal organs,” says cardiologist Dr. Ian J. Neeland, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine. “When studies use weight or body mass index as a metric, we don’t know if the interventions are reducing fat everywhere in the body, or just near the surface. The location and type of fat is important. If you just measure weight or BMI, you can underestimate the benefit to your health of losing weight. Exercise can actually melt visceral fat.”

Ferozan Mast

Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan