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Why is omentum fat the most harmful fat in your body?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Because omentum fat (stored abdominal fat) is so close to your solid organs, it's their best energy source (why go to the gas station on the other side of town when there's a station at the next corner?). That special preference makes omentum fat somewhat obnoxious. Think of omentum fat as the aggressive 18-wheeler on a crowded highway—elbowing out the stomach, pushing away other organs, and claiming up all the space for itself.

Fat released from the omentum (the abdominal fat storage facility) travels to your liver rapidly and constantly as opposed to the more patient fat on your thighs. The processed material is shipped to the arteries and is linked to health risks like high LDL (lousy) cholesterol.

Omentum fat also secretes very little adiponectin, which is a stress- and inflammation-reducing chemical that's related to the hunger-controlling hormone leptin. When you have less fat, you secrete more adiponectin, which reduces inflammation. But more importantly, higher levels of adiponectin are related to lower levels of fat. So the more omentum fat you have, the less fat-regulating adiponectin you'll produce. Those who have low levels of adiponectin have abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors associated with coronary artery disease. There are even links between omentum fat and cancer.

Those are the reasons why the fat in your thighs doesn't matter as much to your health as does omentum fat (even if it matters for your bikini pride), and it helps explain why omentum fat (or an apple shape) is more harmful than subcutaneous fat (like thigh fat, which gives you a pear shape). Subcutaneous fat isn't supplying a feeding tube to the rest of your vital internal organs—and it's not messing up the levels of substances in your blood that are being supplied to your vital organs.

The closer your waist is to ideal, then the healthier your arteries and your immune system will be. The healthier your arterial and immune systems, the longer—and better—you'll live. And the more energy you'll have every day.
YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

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YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

For the first time in our history, scientists are uncovering astounding medical evidence about dieting -- and why so many of us struggle with our weight and the size of our waists. Now researchers...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.