Belly fat, sometimes called "angry fat," can be a lot worse than you think

We're looking ahead to the struggle that often comes with the holiday season and we're getting healthy for the holidays. 

If you don't like what the scale is saying maybe there's another number to focus on instead. We're talking about belly fat. 

Sure, there's the fat that you can see in the mirror, but what about what's lurking under your hidden 6 pack? That's what doctors are worried about. 

"The abdominal fat, particularly the fat that surrounds our liver, our pancreas and our intestines has been sometimes described as "angry fat" because it's the most metabolically risky. It's highly correlated with type 2 diabetes risk, dementia, cancer, heart disease, and stroke," Dr. Tom Rifai says. He's the founder of Reality Meets Science, a health education and wellness company. 

We can't control of course, though, where we're gaining weight. 

"There's a lot of genetics, but remember genetics loads the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger, and we are starting to find certain lifestyles and calories do tend to deposit in the inter abdominal fat more. 

"For instance refined carbohydrates - we're not talking about fruits and vegetables and beans and lentils and whole grains - but refined starches, refined sugars; alcohol is a thing, it was kind of a myth, a "beer belly," well actually alcohol in excess may preferentially deposit in the abdomen as well, as well as saturated fat." 

Dr. Rifai isn't talking about the fat you can pinch, he's talking about the fat that's below everything, that surrounds the organs. It's highly correlated with your abdominal circumference. 

Get out the tape measure: for guys, the target number to consider is 37 and for women, it's about 31.5 inches. 

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