Storing fat primarily in your belly, rather than your hips, increases your chances of suffering heart attacks and diabetes.

When you take in more calories than your body needs, your liver turns them into fat. People who store fat primarily in their bellies are called apples, while those who store fat primarily in their hips are called pears. Fat cells in your belly are different from those in your hips. The blood that flows from belly fat goes directly to your liver, whereas the blood that flows from your hips goes into your general circulation. The livers of those who store fat in their bellies are blocked from removing insulin by the extra fat and therefore do not remove insulin from the bloodstream as effectively as the livers of those who store fat in their hips and have less fat in their livers. So, apples have high blood insulin and sugar levels (2).

You need insulin to drive sugar from your bloodstream into your cells, but insulin is also a harmful hormone because it lowers blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol that prevents heart attacks and raises blood levels of the bad triglycerides that cause heart attacks (3). Being shaped like an apple and having a beer belly increases your risk for a heart attack and diabetes. People who store fat primarily in their hips and are shaped like pears are less likely to have heart attacks. See report #1555.

1) HS Kahn, DF Williamson. Abdominal obesity and mortality risk among men in nineteenth-century North America. International Journal of Obesity 18: 10 (OCT 1994):686-691. 2) CE Flodmark, T Sveger, P Nilssonehle. Waist measurement correlates to a potentially atherogenic lipoprotein profile in obese 12-14-year-old children. Acta Paediatrica 83: 9 (SEP 1994):941-945.

Checked 5/3/07

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