Going to your doctor may soon look more like going to your tailor. Instead of starting with a request to step on a scale, he or she may measure your waist.
That's because a new study (http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2468805) concludes that excess belly fat, even if you are skinny everywhere else, may be even more deadly than being obese or overweight.
What makes belly fat so deadly? Part of it may be that unlike your love handles -- which are pinchable fat right beneath your skin -- the kind of fat that likes to hang out in your stomach area goes deep inside your body and wraps around your vital organs. Your liver can act a bit greedy and it borrows this fat to turn it into cholesterol that can slip into your bloodstream and start collecting along your arteries. Too much cholesterol, and the arteries start to harden -- and that can lead you down the path to heart attack or stroke.
This deep layer of fat is to blame for your body becoming insulin-resistant. That can turn into Type 2 diabetes and it can also cause inflammation that may be at the root of a number of chronic diseases. This kind of fat can raise your glucose levels and decrease your muscle mass. That last one may be particularly damaging as muscle seems to be a good protector of your heart health.
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