So, What do “Love Handles” Have to do with Heart Disease?

SYoung Health Guide
  • Hello all.  Since we are officially into spring and slowly heading into summer, I am feeling light-hearted and am going to take a break from the serious posts of the past and have some fun in my next couple of blogs with things like fat, sugar, bouncing bellies, and exercise.


    “Love Handles” or “Muffin Tops” both are common names for the weight we carry in our mid-section.  No matter what name we use for that weight and no matter how cute we try to make it sound, it really is incredibly harmful.    Girth size isn’t just impacting the middle aged like me, anymore, but worse, it is now also negatively impacting the young folks in the 18-30 years old range.  As our girths expand, so does the prevalence of diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and calcium deposits in blood vessels in both the young and the older alike.  This fat is downright dangerous.

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    I am taking my muffin tops much more seriously particularly now that I am experiencing the infamous middle-age related weight gain and in light of my risk factors, like high cholesterol.  So just how do we get our bellies in line?  Equally important, how do we stop the expansion of the midline as we age? 

    I regret to inform you that there is no pill to swallow that will work and there is no easy way to sit on the sofa watching TV and have pounds melt away.  Exercise really is the only way along with a diet low in processed sugars and animal fats.  Yes to diet and exercise and no to processed sugars.  Just what are processed sugars?  Candy, cookies, cake, some fruit juices, sodas…the list goes on.  Animal fats include my beloved bacon.


    Ah, how I love candy, cookies and cake.  I will admit that I am one of those guys in the office who lies in wait like a lion stalking prey, for the dessert leftovers…leftover cookies in the kitchen or cake in the coffee room and while I hate her on one level, I love her on another, my boss who brings in doughnuts to the office every Monday.


    I digress…we must all help one another to resist the siren song of sugar and support one another in the battle of the bulge, love handles or muffin tops.  Exercising produces results and we all know exercise burns the fat, but it can also slow age related weight gain that happens as our bodies change. 


    Visit CardioSmart for helpful articles, but suffice it to say, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) researched the issue of age related weight gain and the impact of exercise.  They discovered that “maintaining a high level of physical activity was able to significantly blunt – by 6-13 pounds on average, the amount of weight gain over the years.”  Participants who engaged in moderate exercise or exercised inconsistently did not fare any better than the low activity participants, which means their bellies continued to expand. 


    I hope you will join me in an exercise commitment.  I committed a few years back to get moving at least three-four days per week to start.  Just three days. I walk, use my gym at work, and maybe even jump rope.  Will you do the same?  Take three days or two or even one and move.  The most important thing is taking that first step.  It isn't easy, but the rewards are worth the struggle.  I am going to do my own research study and see if my girth decreases as I get my metabolism moving.  I urge exercise with the important caveat...before you start, get your physician's approval and feedback on just what is right for you.

Published On: May 17, 2011