A little bit of belly fat is actually good for you: it protects your stomach, intestines, and other delicate organs. But too much fat is anything but healthy. Extra fat cells deep in your abdomen (aka visceral fat) generate adipose hormones and adipokines—chemical troublemakers that travel to your blood vessels and organs, where they cause inflammation that can contribute to problems like heart disease and diabetes. The good news? Every pound you shed can help reduce your girth.
"Once women start losing weight, they typically lose 30 percent more abdominal fat compared with total fat," said Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite, an endocrinologist at the Rush University Prevention Center in Chicago.