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The Scary Risk of Belly Fat

If you thought blasting belly fat was just about lowering your risk of heart disease, think again. Turns out there's even more at stake.

It's time to slim down that stomach once and for all—and we've got the scientific data to prove it. One look at these results and you'll be trying out all of the 42 Ways To Lose 5 Inches of Belly Fat as soon as humanly possible.

In a recent Michigan University study, researchers fed some rats a higher-fat diet than others. And while they weren't surprised to find that these animals accumulated more visceral fat, the lower layer that's not directly beneath the skin, what did surprise them was what this meant for those rats' cancer risk. Their visceral fat produced more fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2), a protein that can stimulate noncancerous cells and cause them to turn into cancerous ones. As a result, they were more likely to develop cancerous tumors.

But just because the experiment was done on rats doesn't mean you can breathe easy. The study, published in Oncogene, also found visceral fat to produce more FGF2 and, in turn, more cancerous tumors, when they injected mice with fatty tissue from women. This means human fat is just as capable of this.

While Jamie Bernard, lead author and assistant professor in pharmacology and toxicology, knows that there's always chance involved in developing cancer, she does recommend working to reduce your belly fat anyway in light of these frightening results. "By making smarter choices when it comes to diet and exercise [..] people can always help skew the odds in their favor," she said in a press release. So set yourself up for success as best as you possibly can, cutting out these 40 Bad Habits That Give You Belly Fat to start.


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