To Your Health
July, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 07)
Get a Handle on Your Love Handles
By Editorial Staff
No one likes having a spare tire - not the one in the trunk of your car, the one around your midsection! Recent research suggests belly fat actually can make you hungrier, creating an unending cycle of weight gain and poor health.
Dr. Yaiping Yang and colleagues at the University of Western Ontario discovered abdominal fat tissue can reproduce a hormone that stimulates fat cell production. This hormone, neuropeptide Y (NPY), is the most potent appetite-stimulating hormone known, sending signals to the individual that they are constantly hungry. NPY is produced in the brain; however, according to Dr. Yang, et al., NPY also appears to be produced locally by abdominal fat. The hormone increases fat cell numbers by stimulating the replication of precursor cells, which eventually become fat cells.
Yang explained, "This may lead to a vicious cycle [whereby] NPY produced in the brain causes you to eat more and therefore gain more fat around your middle, and then that fat produces more NPY hormone which leads to even more fat cells."
Being overweight, regardless of where the fat is located, is unhealthy. However, abdominal fat may be the most dangerous. People predisposed to belly fat are at an elevated risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and some cancers. So, the sooner you start a sensible diet and exercise program, the sooner you can break the vicious hunger/belly fat cycle.