• is belly fat worse than other fat

Is Belly Fat Worse Than Other Fat

Is belly fat worse than other fat? Any type of excess body fat is bad for your health, but it appears that location may matter just a much when it comes to body fat as it does when buying real estate and visceral fat is prime real estate in how it affects the body.

The fat that is located deep within the abdomen is more dangerous to your health than the regular body fat you can pinch with your fingers.

Typically, about 90 percent of our body fat lies just beneath the skin and is spread out over the entire body. This type of fat is called subcutaneous fat even if it’s located in the stomach area.

The other 10 percent is called visceral or intra-abdominal fat and it is located beneath the abdominal wall; it surrounds the liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines. We also have an apron-like flap of tissue just under the belly muscles called the omentum that gets harder and thicker as it fills with fat.

Why Visceral Fat Is Dangerous

In 1984, a Swedish study showed that an increase in abdominal waistline was a strong predictor for coronary heart disease later in life. In another study, the same investigators showed that central obesity was also strongly associated with an increased risk for diabetes. As we know, people with diabetes have a higher risk for a number of serious chronic illnesses.

Although visceral fat makes up the smaller proportion of body fat, it is associated with more health problems than subcutaneous fat. Not all fat cells are the same. The visceral fat deep in the belly is a metabolically active hormonal organ that secretes various adipokines that are inflammatory signaling agents.

Fat acts like an endocrine organ and produces hormones and cytokines that can have a significant effect on your health. When you have excess abdominal fat it disrupts the normal balance and function of these hormones.

For example, visceral fat pumps out cytokines like tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These biochemicals have a wide range of negative effects in many areas including our blood pressure, blood clotting and sensitivity to insulin. They can directly lead to a variety of diseases.

Researchers at Harvard have discovered that visceral fat secretes more retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), a molecule that increases insulin resistance. The more visceral fat you have, the higher the levels of RBP4.

Subcutaneous Fat Is Not As Dangerous

While too much body fat of any kind is a health risk, subcutaneous fat produces a higher proportion of beneficial molecules than visceral fat does. It also produces fewer proteins called cytokines that trigger low-level inflammation.

Subcutaneous fat produces more of the hormone leptin which acts on the brain to suppress appetite and to burn existing body fat.

Adiponectin is another hormone produced by subcutaneous fat. It regulates the processing of fats and sugars and helps protect against diabetes.

What Causes Visceral Fat

How much fat we store is largely determined by how many calories we consume. Taking in more than we burn creates a surplus and some of that surplus gets stored as fat. Lack of exercise also leads to more fat storage because we burn more calories when we are more active.

Aging also plays a role. People typically lose muscle mass with age and simultaneously tend to store more fat. This loss of muscle mass means you burn fewer calories and this is why it’s harder to lose weight as you get older.

Many women experience an increase in belly fat as they get older due to a decreasing level of estrogen. Estrogen levels appear to influence where fat gets distributed in the body.

Lastly, diet and genetics also influence the amount of visceral fat in people.


Health Risks Associated With Visceral Fat

There are a number of health risks that are associated with visceral fat including:

  • More than double the risk of developing heart disease.
  • Three times more likely to develop dementia.
  • 37 percent more likely to develop asthma.
  • Three times the risk of developing colorectal precancerous polyps.
  • Increased risk for breast cancer.

About the Author:

Robert Lalonde is the author of The ELH Diet - The Easy Way to be Lean & Healthy


  1. Avatar
    Hildred November 11, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks, very excellent post.

  2. Avatar
    Veronica November 7, 2015 at 2:16 am - Reply

    It’s almost a living thing.. scary & ugly!

  3. Avatar
    Wilhemina October 6, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Very enlightening post.

  4. Avatar
    John October 2, 2015 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing these tips about belly fat.

  5. Avatar
    Doug September 28, 2015 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Even if it isn’t any worse, it sure looks bad 🙁

  6. Avatar
    Fred September 25, 2015 at 8:41 am - Reply

    It’s worse than it looks.

  7. Avatar
    Johanna September 19, 2015 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Good info, thank you.

  8. Avatar
    Breanna September 13, 2015 at 10:31 am - Reply

    I always suspected as much.

  9. Avatar
    Rosaline August 5, 2015 at 1:31 am - Reply

    This article is an eye-opener for the people who are walking around with lots of belly fat.

  10. Avatar
    Kory August 4, 2015 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    It’s best not to get in this kind of shape in the first place.

  11. Avatar
    Marlene August 2, 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    It certainly looks worse than regular body fat.

  12. Avatar
    Teri August 2, 2015 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    My husband has one of the these. What would you suggest he do to get rid of it?

    • Robert
      Robert August 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      That’s a good question Teri. While there are many contributing causes, our genes are largely responsible for where the fat gets stored.

      Belly fat is caused by the same things as subcutaneous fat (regular fat just below the skin) and switching to a healthy diet plan like the ELH DIET is the best way to get rid of it.

  13. Avatar
    Tam August 2, 2015 at 6:42 am - Reply

    I didn’t know why, but I had a sneaking suspicion that people who carry around all that belly fat had some serious health problems.

    • Robert
      Robert August 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      They might not have serious health problems just yet Tam, but they certainly have a much higher risk of getting them than lean people do.

  14. Avatar
    Corina July 29, 2015 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    If you had to name the one thing that is the worse for building fat, what would it be?

    • Robert
      Robert August 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm - Reply

      Good question Corina. If I had to name one thing, it would be sugar. Sugar comes in many forms and many products. Soft drinks, sweetened juices and sports drinks pack in more sugar in one serving than anything else we consume.

  15. Avatar
    Letha July 27, 2015 at 6:49 am - Reply

    Do some foods cause more belly fat than others?

    • Robert
      Robert July 27, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

      Partially yes and partially no, Letha.

      Our body shape is largely determined by genes and is related to differences in our physical chemistry, hormone production, sensitivity to hormones and our individual metabolism.

      Having said that, any food that causes you to put on fat will increase belly fat in someone who is predisposed.

  16. Avatar
    Bonny July 26, 2015 at 4:57 am - Reply

    Once one’s body gets rid in the long staying waste or toxins, it’s really a lot easier for our bodies to do its
    process in reducing your weight. It basically amounts to
    being determined and it’s just a matter of having the courage to travel through
    your way and create change in your daily routine.
    This will consequently increase the risk for food to maneuver too fast through the
    small intestine thus this may prevent the absorption with the nutrients and
    the calories in one’s body.

    • Robert
      Robert July 26, 2015 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Looks like a bunch of gibberish posted by some retard in the seo link building community. What else can I say.

  17. Avatar
    Katherine May 30, 2015 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this. Awesome picture too!

    • Robert
      Robert May 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Katherine! The picture is a great example, isn’t it!

  18. Avatar
    Lashunda May 29, 2015 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Interesting article about belly fat. I had no idea!

    • Robert
      Robert May 30, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Thanks Lashunda, glad you like it!

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