Belly Fat is No Joke.

We love to joke about a “beer belly,” “love handles” or a “pancita,” but fat around our abdominal organs is dangerously linked to serious risks, including heart disease, cancer and dementia – and you don’t have to be overweight to be at risk. Any amount of belly fat will due.

Belly fat is essential an endocrine organ that secretes hormones linked to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. According to a Dutch study published last year, belly fat increases the risk of breast cancer in women significantly. A study of nearly seven thousand Kaiser Permanente members found that those of us with “abdominal obesity” were three times more likely to develop dementia than those without belly fat. Other studies have linked belly fat to migraine headaches and premature death.

If you can pinch more than an inch, you should take steps to shed those beloved long handles. The most effective way to trim belly fat? Yep, you guessed it: cut out sugar. Sugar is a huge culprit in the belly fat game. Stop drinking sodas and other juices. Just stop. Then, cut out refined carbohydrates. No more white bread or white rice. Eat more vegetables, whole grains and beans. More fiber! And don’t forget to move. Walk, run and dance…but move your ass every day.

Dr. H.