Smoking’s link to dangerous belly fat

Despite all we know about the dangers of smoking, nearly one in 12 U.S. adults still use cigarettes.

That means that approximately 28.3 million adults in the United States currently smoke.

And while many of them may want to kick the habit, for some the worry about weight gain keeps them reaching for those cigarette packs.

However, according to in the scientific journal Addiction, choosing to continue to smoking to avoid packing on a few extra pounds, might be rather ironic.

That’s because research shows smokers have already packed on those pounds — deep within their bellies.

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Cigarettes and deep-down fat

So how was the link between cigarettes and visceral fat discovered?

That took researchers from the University of Copenhagen who combed through genetic studies of a whopping 1.2 million people who started smoking, over 450,000 lifetime smokers and the body fat distributions of over 600,000 people.

If you think that sounds intense, it was!

First, the team used previous genetic studies to identify which genes are linked to smoking habits and body fat distribution.

Next, they took a deep dive to determine whether people with genes associated with smoking tend to have different body fat distributions.

Finally, they ruled out all other influencing factors like alcohol consumption to ensure that any connections they found between smoking and body fat distribution were clear.

And it all came down to this conclusion: “This study found that starting to smoke and smoking over a lifetime might cause an increase in belly fat, as seen by measurements of waist-to-hip ratio. In a further analysis, we also found that the type of fat that increases is more likely the visceral fat, rather than the fat just under the skin.”

The dangers of visceral fat

Visceral fat is the deep fat that wraps around your organs that you may not be able to see — but can have significant negative effects on your health.

In fact, you can have a flat stomach and still have unhealthy amounts of visceral fat, which raises your risk of serious illness, including metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia.

Visceral fat has even been shown to fuel cancer growth by releasing a protein called fibroblast growth factor-2 in your body that causes non-cancerous cells to become cancerous.

It’s even possible that this could explain some of the connections between smoking itself and cancer.

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Kick the habit and blast the belly fat

So if you’ve been putting off quitting smoking because you’re worried you might gain weight, now’s the time to put that worry to bed and start thinking about how to get rid of the more dangerous type of fat buildup smoking causes.

Consider putting these six proven ways to quit smoking to work for you.

And partner up to give yourself a six-times higher chance of success.

Finally, to start blasting the deep visceral fat that smoking has left behind take pyrroloquinoline quinone, or PQQ, an antioxidant powerhouse that’s been shown to reduce both total body fat and visceral fat volume.

And try the Green Mediterranean Diet — a version of the original that’s been found to be twice as effective on visceral fat.

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Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States – CDC

The irony of smoking to stay thin: smoking increases belly fat – EurekAlert!

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.