As previously mentioned, fat produces a number of essential hormones that affect a person's body. An excess or a lack of critical hormones can have negative effects that preclude proper body function. On a related note, studies have found that excess body fat, particularly abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and function of some of these hormones. Furthermore, body fat, specifically visceral fat, has a role in the release of specific cytokines, which are a broad category of proteins involved in cell signaling, that can potentially increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Visceral fat is also directly associated with higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and insulin resistance. 3 LDL cholesterol is commonly referred to as "bad cholesterol" while HDL is referred to as "good cholesterol." High levels of LDL cholesterol can clog arteries and lead to complications including heart attacks. Insulin resistance involves cells not properly responding to the hormone insulin, which can lead to high blood sugar levels, and eventually to type 2 diabetes. 1 As can be seen, excess visceral fat can have measurable negative impacts to a person's health.