The heart danger from invisible fat

The news media is obsessed with telling you how “fat” we’ve become and how “obese” we are. But for most people, they’re focusing on the wrong fat. It’s the fat inside your body, not the outside … the fat that can wrap around your organs that you can’t see, which can impact your cardiovascular system even more than exterior fat.

According to researchers at Michigan State University, your visceral fat, the unseen fat inside your body, communicates with your blood vessels via the hormones it releases. And those hormones seem to be telling the vessels to raise your blood pressure.

“Our basic thought is that these hormonal signals, or ‘talk,’ between fat and blood vessels are very different in those people who have hypertension and those who don’t,” says researcher Greg Fink. “In order for us to figure out why this fat raises blood pressure, we need to understand the messages being sent.”

Fink points out that the fat inside your body, wrapped around blood vessels, the intestines and the stomach, can lead to serious health problems.

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“Too much of this ‘bad’ fat is what’s linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke,” Fink says. “About 70 percent of hypertension cases are linked to obesity.”

The best way to cut off the hypertensive communication between visceral fat and blood vessels is to evict the visceral fat by losing weight. Start a consistent exercise program (as we’ve pointed out before, here.) Cut back on sugary, processed foods – even if you’re not overweight, eating too much refined sugar is linked to hypertension.)

In addition, fucoxanthin, a carotenoid derived from seaweed (available as a supplement) has been shown to help reduce visceral fat.

You can also try what’s called “alternative day fasting.” Research at the University of Chicago has shown you can lose weight with a modified fast every other day and eating as much as you want on the other days.

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Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.