Once the winter months begin to roll in, it's all too easy to reach for that extra helping of spuds or another slice of cake to go with your cuppa. It's comfort food, after all, and sure don't we all need the winter layer to stave off the icy Irish weather?
If you consider yourself a relatively healthy weight otherwise, you may have found yourself with a bit of a 'spare tyre' around your waist and brushed it off as just a little extra bit of weight.
However, a new study by US scientists has shown that that 'spare tyre' is actually more harmful to your health than if you were carrying extra fat all over your body.
The study analysed over 15,000 men and women with an average age of 45 over a period of 14 years. Over that time, it was shown that the men and women of normal weight, but with 'bulging middles', had a worse survival rate than the people classified as obese or overweight, judging by their BMI (body mass index).
In fact, men, in particular, with spare tyres were twice as likely to die as their obese counterparts.
Why is this? Well, there is a type of fat known as 'visceral' fat which accumulates in particular around your internal organs, and can lead to diabetes and heart disease. This sort of 'visceral fat' is particularly associated with spare tyre obesity.
A spokesman from the British Heart Foundation said: "We all know that watching our weight is important, but often it’s forgotten that where you carry the weight makes a difference too. Having more fat around your middle can lead to Type 2 diabetes, which greatly increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, but there is lots you can do to get rid of this excess weight and lower your risk.
“Keeping physically active and eating a healthy, balanced diet will help control your weight and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart and circulatory diseases. If you’re concerned about your weight or need further support, make an appointment to see your GP or practice nurse.”
As you head into your lunch break, that's food for thought.