Disheartening Love Handles

While a beer gut may be unsightly, studies suggest tummy fat is even harder on the heart than on the eyes.

The visceral (or deep) flab of a pudgy midsection hugs vital organs in the abdomen, which stresses their function. It also strains the circulatory system, spurs inflammation, and inhibits insulin production, bumping up your chances for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Studies even link belly blubber to higher breast cancer risk.

Help deflate your spare tire with these easy tips:

  • Cut back on the trans–fats, sugar, and alcohol. One study found that trans–fats are more inclined to settle in your stomach, likely because your body is stumped on what to do with them. And because they promote insulin resistance, trans–fats slow your body’s fat distribution process, so more gets stockpiled. Sugar has a similar effect, while alcohol tampers with the torso’s calorie–burning efforts.
  • Step up your aerobics. Fortunately, your highly metabolic love handles are some of the first deposits to respond to fat–burning exercise, so start getting at least 30 minutes a day of walking, jogging, or biking.
  • Eat whole grains and drink water. One study found that eating whole grains helped slim down the waistline. And because drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated and may lessen your craving for high calorie thirst–quenchers, you reap the benefits of adding fewer calories while providing your body with essential fluid.

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