What Is Visceral Fat and Why It’s Important to Reduce It
Visceral fat is the accumulation of fat on our body, but it does not accumulate in the subcutaneous layers of the waist and thighs, and around the abdominal organs. It is more dangerous than the usual subcutaneous fat and fighting it is much more difficult. If subcutaneous accumulation can, in extreme cases, be removed surgically, doctors have not yet learned how to cut into the visceral layer.
We at Bright Side found the essential information about visceral fat for you to get familiar with so as to be healthier.
Why is it so dangerous?
Visceral deposits are actually important for the body, as they protect the internal organs from the effects of the internal environment. However, their total mass shouldn’t exceed 10%-15% of the total amount of all of the body fat.
Gaining more visceral fat than the norm allows is a health hazard. Excess visceral fat can provoke such diseases as:
- varicose veins, as there is an excessive pressure on the legs;
- myocardial infarction, since when the heart is covered with fat and begins to fail, this can lead to disastrous consequences;
- diseases of an oncological nature;
- hormonal disorders;
- violation of metabolic processes in the body.
How is it different from subcutaneous fat?
Our body needs subcutaneous fat. By replenishing the energy reserves of the body, it gives us vitality and warms us up when it’s cold. As you are aware, fat stores in our body with food consumption. But if you eat too much or too often, your body begins to reserve fat not in the subcutaneous layer, but directly near the internal organs. Such an internal fat layer is called visceral fat.
There is an increase in fat around the stomach, liver, gallbladder, intestines, kidneys, and genitals. Excess visceral fat blocks the flow of blood and lymph to the internal organs. The ventilation of the lungs worsens and oxygen in the body becomes imbalanced, which leads to difficulty in breathing and sleeping.
Where does it come from?
The accumulation of excessive visceral fats is due to genetic predisposition. But our way of life also plays an important part in this. For example, many know that men (even if they’re slender) can get what’s called a “beer belly” if they consume too much beer. Beer adversely affects testosterone, which is a male hormone that fights the deposit of excess fat.
After menopause, regardless of the structure of the body shape and the genetic predisposition, a woman’s body sharply reduces estrogen production, and the probability of growing visceral tissue increases significantly.
Thus, people with a hormonal imbalance, metabolic disorders, and sedentary lifestyles are the ones at the greatest risk.
How can you measure it?
To determine the amount of the dangerous fat, it is, of course, better to go to the clinic and undergo a medical examination. But not a lot of people are big fans of going to the doctor.
First, you need to measure your waist. If the size of your waist is in the generally accepted norms, then you do not need to worry about an overabundance of internal fat. The norm for women is up to 35 in and for men — around 37 in.
Second, you calculate the coefficient. Measure your hips and waist and divide the waist size by the hip size. The coefficient that you get will indicate a deviation from the norm. For women, it is more than 0.88 and for men — more than 0.95.
Most importantly — how do you get rid of it?
First of all, you need to switch to a healthy diet. Increase your intake of foods from plants, i.e. your daily diet should consist of 70% of fruits and vegetables. Reduce the consumption of animal fats (butter, fatty beef, or pork) and similar vegetable fats (palm and coconut oil).
It is also necessary to refuse trans fats which are used in the creation of various substitutes of natural oils (so-called spread production, cheap imitation of butter). Also, these oils are often used in the preparation of various muffins, cakes, cookies, and etc.
Revise your diet and eliminate foods with a high glycemic index. Such products dramatically increase the sugar content in the blood, which increases insulin synthesis. And this is a direct path to the formation of excess fat on the waist.
Try to minimize the consumption of alcoholic beverages. It’s not even about the alcohol — it’s more about the snacks that we consume. Replace plain white bread with bread products made from coarse flour. Eat foods that are high in fiber to cleanse the intestines. Forget about “guilty pleasure” snacks. Nuts, dried fruits, citrus fruits, raw vegetables, and fruits are an indispensable alternative to harmful sandwiches.
And, most importantly, try to find time to exercise on a regular basis. Burn visceral fat with intense physical activities — namely running, swimming, cycling, playing football, or tennis. The main enemy of internal fat is activity. Move more and follow the rules of healthy eating and the fat will melt day by day like ice cream on a summer day.
If you have any other information to provide on this matter, please share it in the comments below.