A little extra weight packs a lot of risk

Just a little extra jelly in your belly might not seem so bad. With so many people obese and even morbidly obese, being just a little overweight might seem like an accomplishment these days.

But don't feel too proud of yourself -- because a little extra fat can add up to a lot of risk, especially if it builds up around your middle but losing belly fat will help you get your risk back down.

It's visceral fat, but you may know it better as belly fat or the old "spare tire" -- and if you're carrying around a spare of your own, you're facing a 44 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 43 percent higher risk of cancer, according to a new study.

Belly fat can raise your inflammation levels and throw your hormones out of whack, leading to serious imbalances.

Together, it's a punch in the gut that can lead to poor health and disease -- so much so that the new study finds belly fat may be as reliable an indicator of heart risk as BMI.

In fact, it might even be slightly better.

If you've got a spare tire of your own, it's time to let the air out and start losing belly fat -- and the good news is that visceral fat isn't quite as stubborn as some of the other types of fat that build up in your body.

Pass on the processed foods, skip the sugar and other refined carbs and stick to a diet of fresh lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of produce. Your body will start losing belly fat on its own as you lose weight.

Then, don't forget to exercise -- because blood-pumping, sweat-inducing aerobics such as running, swimming and biking can burn the fat right out of your body.

If you need a little more help, don't be shy -- just ask your doctor. And if you're in Southern California, I can help. I can create a diet that matches your specific needs -- one that's both realistic and effective.

Ready to learn more? Contact my clinic for more information, to make an appointment, or for a telephone consultation at 855-DOC-MARK.