Prevent heart disease by losing belly fat

By on December 15, 2011

The Biggest Loser is one of the favorite shows of my wife Shari and me.

I  confess, it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but on past episodes, there was always a part where participants would meet with Dr. H for initial physical examination.

After a thorough examination  including many tests, Dr H would show them MRI results.  And more often than not, their heart was crowded with lots of fat.  This, to many, was the first time they saw how their body was directly affecting their heart.  People would often cry, as Dr H. would explain how they are going to die young…..

Chances are, if you’re reading this right now, you either have belly fat, or someone you care about does.

Which is why I’ll explain right now, more honest than you’ll hear from most people: If you have belly fat, you’re probably going to die young, too. 

It could be twenty years from now from your increased risk of cancer, it could be a massive heart attack next week from your increased chance of heart disease.  Whatever the cause, the most comprehensive research says that you’re going to die early.

As stated above, there are ways that belly fat affects our entire body.  For simplicity, though, this article will just focus on how it affects your heart.  Before giving all the details, just know this: in your body, nothing happens in a vacuum.  If you’re fat, you’re heart is going to be stressed.  Because of that stress, very specific, and highly-related ailments become likely.  Those ailments show up in certain ways:

1. Belly fat crowds the heart, and is related to congestive heart failure.   When we put on belly fat, it doesn’t only hang down over our belt.  It also gets crowded under our rib cage, too.  Picture under your rib cage, a very snug space that your organs (including your heart) work within.  Now picture sticking a bowling ball (or 10-40 pound mass of fat) under that space, and expecting your heart and other organs to function normally.  It’s just not gonna happen for the long-term. In fact, a recent study in the journal titled Circulation found that waist size was a predictor for heart failure, even when BMI (body mass index) was considered to be normal (2009).  Simply put, because of the long-term effect of the heart working harder than it’s supposed to, it enlarges, “gets tired”, and wears out.

2. Belly fat is related to high blood pressure The Journal of hypertension in 2010, published a study performed on 572 men.  They found that increased visceral subcutaneous adipose tissue (belly fat) was related to hard-to treat high blood pressure. Again,  if your organs are packed into a snug place, and you stick a bowling ball ( or 10-50 # of extra fat) in between them, the pressure’s going to go up. If it’s not the direct pressure of the fat onto your heart, your body also has to contend with the high amounts of VLDL’s (Bad cholesterol), caused from obesity, that directly relate to high blood pressure as well.

By the way, if you’re one of the fortunate people who has belly fat, but has developed compensatory mechanisms to keep your blood pressure at a normal level, that’s great, but studies say that it still doesn’t lower your chance of dying young.

3. Belly Fat is connected to atherosclerosis A team lead by Dr Daniel Eitzman recently published a study performed in mice with belly fat.  They found a correlation between belly fat levels and the increased inflammation surrounding that same tissue(2008).  That inflammation process is known to contribute to atherosclerosis. Belly fat is sort of like having a constant ‘thunderstorm’ of inflammation wherever it’s located.  This ‘thunderstorm’ damages the surrounding tissues, causing long-term damage.  Since the heart is fairly close to the belly, it, as well as the many nearby blood vessels receive a great deal of that ‘storm damage’ in the presence of belly fat.


According to the largest-scale study of its kind, the May 10, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology  says that the best measurement to estimate your heart disease risk is by taking a waist-abdominal measurement.  They state that this test is the most accurate means of determining how long you’ll live (That means it’s more accurate than blood pressure, more accurate than cholesterol counts, more accurate than body mass index, and any  other tests we have).

Here’s how you do it:

1. Measure the distance around the widest part of your butt.

2. Measure your waist, around your belly button.

If your waist is bigger, you’re likely to die young from heart disease.

Sound almost too simple? Maybe. But it’s valid.

Tim Russert, a well-known news caster, with exception of his belly fat, showed all the signs of perfect health. He recently passed a stress-test, and his cholesterol, blood pressure, were normal, and he even exercised on a regular basis.  Yet he died very young (at only 58) from a massive heart attack.  His autopsy demonstrated among other things, an enlarged heart, and hardening of the coronary arteries.  He died a very young man.

Don’t end up like Tim– start losing belly fat today.

What are some solutions?

One of the things is that you’d learn how to eat.  You’d stop eating so-called ‘healthy’ foods, and actually eat good foods.

Simple carbs (sugar, white bread, candy, frappucinos, cake, cookies,  etc..)/refined, cured, and processed foods would be replaced with foods that have healing properties.

What kind of foods are we talking about?

Lots of vegetables, some fruits, and some meats.  Beef would be grass-fed instead of grain fed.  Chicken would be organic, and fish would be wild, not Atlantic of farmed.  Fast food would largely become a thing of the past, as would packaged foods.  Healthy fats would also be adopted.  What- fats?  Yes.  (Here’s what you’re not hearing about from many health care professionals, who, under the influence from extremely powerful organizations, tell you to eat low fat):  certain fats are needed in our lifestyle, and without them, we die.  And we need them in substantial amounts. Many of which come in the forms of  coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts,  seeds, and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.  It is extremely important to note however, that damaged fats like trans fatty acids must be avoided like the plague.  These harmful fats are found in fried foods, artificial vegetable spreads, hydrogenated oils, and other man-made sources.

If you want to prevent hear disease, you’d also exercise daily.  For the rest of your life.

Oh yea, for more tips on losing belly fat, click here


Ishikawa, J, et. al., An increased visceral-subcutaneous adipose tissue ratio is associated with difficult-to-treat hypertension in men. Journal of Hypertension, 2010 Jun;28(6):1340-6.

Eitzman, D, et. al., University of Michigan

Des Pres, J, et. al., Excess visceral adipose tissue/ectopic fat the missing link in the obesity paradox? J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 May 10;57(19):1887-9.


About Michael Tremba

Dr. Michael Tremba, once severely overweight himself, has studied to distinguish the truth about weight loss, and the shocking mis-information that's taught to us by many "trusted" groups. Through the techniques that have helped him regain his health, he shares uncommon tools to help anyone else desiring to lose weight to live the life they're meant to. He enjoys reading, exercising, travelling, and spending time with his wife, Shari in Mobile, Alabama Find me on Twitter, Google+ and let's connect on LinkedIn.


  1. Kathy Bopp

    December 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    In one of your upcoming podcasts, could you discuss the relationship between alcohol (specifically, beer) and belly fat? How much is too much, how does it affect cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc?

    Thank you!

    • Tremba Michael

      December 2, 2013 at 9:12 am

      I’m actually working on a ‘preventing heart disease’ podcast right at this moment. I think that somewhere whithin it, we could discuss a little bit about beer, belly fat, alcohol, and heart disease :)

  2. Kathy Bopp

    December 2, 2013 at 10:28 am

    That’s great….thank you! I need an expert opinion to back up my lectures on the unhealthy effects of too much beer.

    • Tremba Michael

      December 3, 2013 at 7:18 am

      LOL. Thanks for your continued interaction, Kathy :)

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