What do you know about visceral fat? If your answer is “not a lot”, then this article is essential reading for you. Knowing about visceral fat is quite important, as unless you do you won’t be able to manage it properly. Left unchecked, visceral fat levels can (and do) lead to a whole host of health issues, as you will learn in this article.
So read on to find more about this invisible fat, and about essential things you need to know about visceral fat.
Here are the things you will learn:
- What is visceral fat
- The difference between visceral fat and subcutaneous fat
- Why is visceral fat bad for you
- What causes visceral fat?
- Visceral fat health risks
- Visceral fat symptoms
- How to get rid of visceral fat
Let’s get started.
What is Visceral fat?
The fat that is stored in our body comes in two main types – subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat.
Visceral fat (often referred to as “active fat”) is fat that is stored inside our stomach. It is different from subcutaneous fat, which is stored just under our skin.
When people think about body fat, they usually think about subcutaneous fat, as you will find out more about later on in this article.
Visceral fat vs Subcutaneous fat
Visceral fat is actually not the fat you can see. The visible fat, the fat you can pinch, is called subcutaneous fat.
Visceral fat is less visible, as it is inside the body. It is stuff that you can’t generally see, which is what makes it so much more dangerous to our health as you won’t usually know what your visceral fat levels are.
But it’s not all bad news – there are ways to find out your visceral fat levels, as you will learn below.
Why is Visceral fat bad for you
There are several reasons why visceral fat is bad for you, the most significant one being the diseases it can lead to.
Most of this type of fat is located around the vital organs, which can make it harder for them to do their job properly. Think about it – when your pancreas, or liver, or intestines, or heart struggle to do their job properly, how well do you think your health will be?
But that’s not all – visceral fat produces immune system chemicals called cytokines, chemicals which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. They can have a negative impact on our body’s ability to process insulin, regulate blood pressure and can even impact blood clotting.
Visceral fat also releases other substances, especially, free fatty acids, which can increase the level of lipids in our blood. This, in turn, can lead to higher cholesterol levels, and negatively impact our body’s ability to process insulin.
There’s a reason why visceral fat is linked to quite a few serious health conditions (more below).
What causes Visceral fat?
The three main factors that cause visceral fat are:
- Lack of activity
Bad eating habit is the biggest contributor to visceral fat formation. The more junk and bad food you eat, the higher your visceral fat levels will be.
Lack of activity contributes to visceral fat levels quite significantly as well, as the less your body works, the less fat it burns. This overtime builds up.
Stress is one of the other key contributors to visceral fat formation. This is because when your body is stressed it will store more fat, as it goes into the survival mode.
Now that you know more about the main factors that cause visceral fat, let’s look at the health risks it poses.
Visceral fat health risks
Here are some of the health risks associated with having a large amount of visceral fat in your body:
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
Visceral fat symptoms
How can you tell if you have too much visceral fat?
The easiest way to tell is to measure your waist. According to studies, about 10% of the total fat in your body is usually stored as visceral fat. If you have more body fat than you should than it is extremely likely that you have a higher level of visceral fat.
Here is a simple measure:
- For Women – if your waist is 35 inches or more, then it is extremely likely that you have more visceral fat than is good for you
- For Men – if your waistline is 40 inches or more, it is highly likely that you have excess visceral fat.
If you want a more accurate measurement, MRI scans are the way to go. That said, a simple waist measurement will be a great place to start.
How to get rid of Visceral fat
Earlier we looked at the three main causes of visceral fat – now let’s look at ways to get rid of this bad fat.
Here are a few ways you can reduce the levels of your visceral fat:
- Exercise – Working out is, hands down, the most effective way to deal with visceral fat. The general recommendation is about 30 minutes of exercise a day. But if that is a struggle, even five minutes of intense HIIT workout can really help. You can learn more about HIIT here.
- Healthy diet – Eating healthy is one of the other great ways to reduce the visceral fat in your body. Cut down on (if not totally eliminate) bad food like high-sugar food (including alcohol), or really fatty food from your diet, and have more of the good stuff like fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbs. Also, try to opt for less use of oil. Improving your diet is not just good for cutting down your visceral fat levels, it is also good for your overall health.
- Meditation – As mentioned earlier, stress is one of the key contributors to visceral fat storage. Meditation, which helps you manage and reduce your stress levels, can really help with that. Mindfulness can also help.
When are your Visceral fat levels serious enough to see a professional
Do you need to see a doctor about your visceral fat levels?
We are not medical professionals, so that is really something you need to talk to your doctor about. But generally speaking, if your waist is over 35 inches (for women) to 40 inches (for men), it can be useful to seek professional advice. Your doctor can accurately measure your visceral fat levels, assess potential risks, and advise you about what you need to do.
The fat that you see (subcutaneous fat), as it turns out, is not the fat that can seriously harm you. It’s the fat that you can’t see (visceral fat) that can really damage your health.
So it is important to be mindful of your health. Take note of what you have learned in this article to get an idea of your own visceral fat levels, and do the things that help with reducing visceral fat levels.
Prevention is always better than cure, so look after your health. Eat well, stay active, manage your stress levels, and you should be in a position where you won’t even have to worry about visceral fat.
What are your thoughts on visceral fat?
Do you have any thoughts, suggestions, and tips to share?
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