You’ll hear concerns expressed about the “apple shaped” body, or “beer belly”, and in other articles we’ve discussed why the proportion of fat around your center can be a cause for concern and why the “waist to hip ratio” is important. Of course, there are a number of ways to measure body fat, but our concern here is a specific type of belly fat known as visceral fat.
Let’s look into abdominal obesity, also known as central obesity, a bit more. This type of obesity is characterized by the build-up of visceral fat in the midsection of your body. If you want to know more about the causes of belly fat, read our previous article.
How Do I Know I Have Visceral Fat?
The simplist way to is measure your stomach at the navel. Anything above 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women may be a cause for concern, as it indicates abdominal obesity.
What Is Visceral Fat?
This type of fat is body fat within your abdominal cavity that wraps around your internal organs such as your liver, pancreas and intestines. While a small amount of visceral fat is normal, and helps cushion your organs, higher amounts of this visceral fat are associated with increased risk of health problems such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. High levels of visceral adiposity also increase the risk for cardiovascular disorders.
Even a person who is not overweight can have too much visceral fat, which is one of the reasons that simply measuring BMI (Body Mass Index) is not always a good indication of health risk.
Is This The Same As Subcutaneous Fat?
No, subcutaneous fat is fat just below your skin layer. That fat is not necessarily dangerous – it’s the visceral abdominal fat that packs around your organs which is a threat to health.
Why Is Visceral Fat So Dangerous?
Visceral fat is different from subcutaneous fat because of a concept called lipotoxicity. What this means is that visceral fat releases its waste products, such as free fatty acids, in areas of the body that aren’t equipped to deal with them. Your liver and other organs struggle to deal with these toxins and organ dysfunction results, which can trigger insulin, blood sugar and cholesterol problems, or even affect heart function. All of this adds up to decreased life expectancy.
Six Ways To Lose Belly (Visceral) Fat
1. Cut sugar. This includes sugary drinks, baked goods, and most processed foods. Alcohol too.
2. Cut carbs, especially processed, low-fiber carbs which your body can quickly convert to sugar.
3. Eat more protein.
4. Eat fiber-rich foods and choose slow carbs which are rich in fiber, if you must eat carbs.
5. Move. Exercise more, even if it’s just walking for a start.
6. Get support from a professional able to give you good nutritional advice and ensure that you track what you eat. Many people are confused about the details of healthy eating and need someone reliable to help them make the correct choices and monitor their progress. In addition, a medical weight loss doctor can help you assess the impact of medications and other health conditions, and even offer appetite suppressants if you have trouble with your initial dietary changes, so that you can drop visceral fat and regain your health.