Will Your Belly Fat Cause Cancer?

Since in America 2/3rds of us are overweight, knowing about the ultimate risk of belly fat is both urgent and important. The facts recently uncovered are shocking!  Learn about the damage that excess fat can do, and how to minimize the risks.

WITH THANKSGIVING one day away, this subject may be viewed as heresy because it deals with diet, but I just learned a few things from yesterday’s Dr. Oz show and if I don’t write about it now, it may elude me later.  Let me add that it’s important for you to know this.

As Dr. Oz reports, the science is clear, and what it says is disturbing given that about 2/3rds of all Americans are overweight.  What we know now is that…

Fat can cause cancer!

This eye-popping assertion was the subject of yesterday’s Dr. Oz show, where he and Dr. Kathleen Wolin, an expert on the matter, delved into how fat causes cancer, what types of cancer fat can cause and what can be done to mitigate the risk.

And the risk is substantial.  To underscore this, I’ll ask you a question.  What do you think has the greatest potential to cause cancer, smoking cigarettes or being overweight?

The answer: Both smoking cigarettes and being overweight carry the same risk of creating cancer – a 30% chance each.

What the studies now demonstrate is that belly fat not only increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease, the so called “diabesity, but of four types of cancer as well.  The four cancers are: Pancreatic Cancer, Colon Cancer, Kidney Cancer and Endometrial Cancer.

If you’re overweight by more than ten pounds, and certainly if you’re obese, you now have a very big reason to take the bull by the horns and lose weight.  If you’ve tried before and weren’t successful, this is the time to seek help, particularly if anyone in your family had any of the four fat-influenced cancers, diabetes or heart disease.


A Special Kind of Fat

What is under scrutiny here is not all fat irrespective of where it is on your body, but belly fat.  Not all fat has the same damage potential.  The fat on your thighs is not as harmful as that hanging around your belly.

Belly fat is called the “omentum”. Omentum is defined by About.com to be:

“… a large fatty structure which essentially hangs off the middle of your colon and drapes over the intestines inside the abdomen to be It is a hormone producer that disrupts normative chemicals in your body. These hormonal chemicals can feed cancer cells and resist the immune system’s response to them.”  (Source here.)

Here’s what it looks like:  

The 4 Cancers that Fat Can Cause

The one common characteristic of the four cancers that fat can cause is that they are all in organs located in proximity to the belly fat, especially when the fat covers a lot of ground – left, right, up, down, out and round.

1. Pancreatic Cancer.  As you may know, the pancreas is deep in the abdomen below the stomach and liver, which makes it close to the belly.  The pancreas helps regulate how the body processes sugar by producing insulin.  If impaired, the pancreas may have difficulty producing insulin, which is the major cause of diabetes.  What’s now known is that a pancreas that can’t regulate sugar due to excess belly fat leaves it vulnerable to cancer.

Reduce this risk by eating foods rich in folates, such as eggs, asparagus, oranges and green leafy vegetables.

2. Colon Cancer.  The omentum lies over the colon and gets entwined within it.  The pernicious effect it has on the colon is through increasing inflammation and reducing immune function.

Reduce this risk by taking two “baby” aspirin daily in warm water so that it’s quickly dissolved. Another tip is to take a curcumin supplement, as this herb is very useful in reducing inflammation.  To increase immune function, consider the supplements listed in Power Up Your Immune System and Antioxidants Kill Free Radicals.

3. Kidney Cancer. Belly fat is a major producer of the hormone “leptin” which can fuel cancer growth as it helps the blood vessels that feed the cancer cells in the kidney.

Reduce this risk by lowering your salt consumption, increasing potassium, and eating foods such as bananas, apricots and broccoli (all high in potassium).

4. Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer.  The omenum fat excretes estrogen and bathes the uterine in it constantly, hyper-stimulating it.  This can result in cancer.

Reduce this risk by drinking a cup of coffee without sugar and cream.  The thought is that coffee helps stimulate metabolism which has the effect of reducing estrogen, although the science is not clear on this.  Personally, I rather drink green tea for the metabolic stimulating effect.  I do this and take the Green Tea Mega supplement.


A 35+ Inch Waist is Dangerous

How do you know if you’re carrying too much belly fat?  Well, I guess it’s a good sign if you’re unsure, for if it’s not completely obvious, you may not be in the danger zone.  But just to make sure, here’s how to measure your waist:

Take your tape measure and bring it across your belly button and hips.  You can suck your belly in. Look down at the tape and gasp!  If the measurement is more than 35 inches for a woman, or 40 inches for a man, you need to take some weight loss measures.

One important thing to point out here, particularly to those of you who don’t consider yourself overweight, and that is maybe tomorrow you will be. In fact, odds are that as the years unfold, so will your belly.

The reason is that the average American adds a couple of pounds each year as we get older. The weight sneaks up on us, and as it does, so do the cancer risks described here. Obviously, it’s really important that you pay attention and not be lax about what might initially seem to be the gaining of a few pounds.

[Here are Dr. Oz’s five life saving numbers you should know.]


Tips and Tricks for Weight Loss

It’s beyond the scope of this post to deeply dig into a weight loss system, and surely there’s enough information on the Web about that.  I can suggest a few things, however, to get you on your way.

1. Get educated on the subject.  On this blog, you can read Dr Oz and the 14-Day Reboot Diet Plan, Diet 101 and The Basics – My Approach to Health.

2. Choose a few things that you’re willing to do to lose weight and add one each week or so.  For instance, one week you can reduce your red meat consumption to two servings and increase your green leafy vegetables to five servings.  One week, walk x blocks, week two 2x blocks.

3. Recruit a buddy.  This person will keep you on your plan and vice versa.

4. Establish new, healthy habits that you do at specific time each day.  For instance:

– Upon waking, first thing, drink as much purified water as you can.

– Then consume 20 to 30 grams of protein, either a whey, hemp, pea or rice protein supplement, and/or eggs and beans… in any event, ALWAYS eat something balanced and good for breakfast (see #1).

– Throughout the day, drink water with apple cider vinegar in it, about one teaspoon per eight ounces, or if you can’t stand the taste that way, first put the vinegar in your mouth and then chase it with water.  Vinegar is a good fat emulsifier.

– When eating high glycemic foods (white food – wheat, rice and such, sugary foods, packaged foods) add some vinegar or cinnamon to slow down the blood glucose reaction.

– Eat fiber-rich foods and have a back-up plan in case your day is taking you away from such foods.  A back-up plan would be to have some flax seed powder (grind fax seeds in your coffee grinder, or buy them already grounded) or psyllium husk powder and scoop  a tablespoon into a shaker jar filled with water, lemon water, or water with a touch of apple juice.

Drink it down fast before it congeals.

Mobility – Use It or Lose It!

My final statement here goes without saying but I’ll say it:

Each of the risk reducing behaviors cited above for the four different cancers influenced by fat can be made dramatically more effective with exercise.

There’s no getting around the fact that our bodies are made to move.  For most of us in the modern world, they only move from a building to a car to the dinner table.  Insufficient!  If you don’t know how to exercise, find out.  As I mentioned above, recruit a buddy and make it your business to find out how to exercise.

And make sure part of your exercise program includes stuff that makes you breathe heavily (aerobic/anaerobic) , stuff that works your muscles thoroughly (resistance training) and stuff that stretches you (like yoga).  Here’s a five-minute session to get you started.

OK… it’s Thanksgiving, go be thankful, eat heartily but consciously, and resolve to do some things differently.  Please share this with everyone you think could benefit by it.  And good luck.

Last Updated on February 7, 2024 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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