Think that putting on a few pounds is harmless – think again. In a sobering new study presented at a recent scientific meeting, researchers demonstrated that gaining as little as five pounds is enough to drive up blood pressure, particularly if the weight is gained in the belly. For this eight-week study, scientists had 16 healthy, non-obese study subjects purposely eat an extra 400 to 1,000 calories a day with the goal to increase their starting weight by 5 percent. The study subjects had their blood pressure continuously monitored for a 24-hour period just prior to the study and at the end of its completion. Results revealed that those who gained weight (even as little as five pounds) increased their systolic blood pressure an average of 4 points, with the greatest blood pressure increases seen in those who gained their weight in the abdominal area. (American Heart Associations High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2014)
This study underscores the menace that seems to inevitably arise when even a little fat makes its way into the belly. Knowing that belly fats cells are relentless in their production of damaging, proinflammatory molecules, these results are not surprising. On the flipside there is some very positive news – past studies have shown that losing even a little belly fat can have profound benefits for your blood pressure and your overall health. Click here to get my best advice for busting belly fat.