Visceral Fat: A Major Health Concern
Visceral fat is basically the excess intra-abdominal adipose tissue accumulation. This fat is stored within the abdomen region and therefore covers a number of sensitive internal organs namely, liver, pancreas, and intestines. This gel type fat is a deep in nature, which is stored underneath the superficial belly fat. If you have a large waist, that’s a indicative that you are storing a lot of dangerous visceral fat, but don’t be too sure as anyone can have visceral fat, without even knowing it. Visceral fat is considered highly dangerous and is also termed as “active fat” because this type of fat plays a critical role in changing the way your body works and hormones operates. This type of fat is considered toxic and increases the trouble in the body since it tends to act as the organ of the body and just like the other organs of the body starts pumping out hormones and inflammatory substances. Not only does this increase the production of pro-inflammatory chemical, it also tends to play a dynamic role in regulation of moods, weight, eating patterns, and functioning of the brain.
Human body is designed in such a way that there is a perfect amalgamation of chemicals which play a well defined role to trigger the brain to perform the right action like tell you when to sleep, when to eat, how much to eat, etc. The effective communication working between the brain and these chemicals are the one’s that hold the accountability of maintaining a healthy weight or making you more susceptible to weight gain and visceral fat storage.The base of the weight of a human body is defined by the blood sugar levels which are controlled by the hormone insulin. Insulin is the one, which is responsible for managing the blood sugar levels. In order to digest the food the body breaks down sugar into simpler units which are known as glucose. This glucose then enters the blood stream and trigger the release of insulin from the pancreas, and then insulin has the important job of ushering blood sugar into cells throughout our body. This ultimately helps in energizing the brain, body tissues and muscular functioning. On the other hand, insulin also corresponds to body fat stores, including the visceral fat stored deep within our bodies. When there’s too much glucose in our bloodstream, glucose gets stored as fat in the body. The more often and longer that blood insulin levels remain high, the more likely a person is to accumulate excess body fat and to battle weight problems.
ASSESSMENT OF VISCERAL FAT
The most effective and certain way is to undergo an MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan). You can also use the BCA (Body Composition Analyzer) machine to assess the level of visceral fat in your body. Along with this, another good indicator is to take a waistline measurement. As per the Harvard University, around 10% of the total fat is likely to be stored as visceral fat, therefore if you are carrying higher amounts of body fat that this, it is more likely that you are also storing excessive visceral fat.
MAJOR RISKS OF VISCERAL FAT
1. Higher Risk of Diabetes
In comparison to the other types of fat, visceral fat is thought to play a larger role in insulin resistance. This automatically means that people who have this type of fat in their body are at a heightened risk for developing diabetes. This is the reason why abdominal fat is viewed as a bigger health risk than hip or thigh fat, not only for diabetes but for many other chronic diseases too.
2. Increased Inflammation
Another major problem caused by this fat is the production of hormonal and inflammatory molecules that get dumped directly into the liver, leading to even more inflammation and hormonal reactions. If there is a layer of visceral organs like the liver, heart, kidneys, pancreas and intestines, your body becomes inflamed and your metabolism suffers, making it a hard cycle to break out of.
3. Difficulty in Losing Weight
People tend to gain more and more weight as the time passes on and one of the main reason is that stored body fat affects hunger levels, especially visceral fat. Though it sounds unreal, but your body’s metabolism levels are highly governed by none other than the existing stored fat. Fat messes with our appetites and makes it easier to overeat due to hormonal changes that take place. If there are higher levels of insulin that automatically converts the calories into body fat making it a never ending cycle. The mind loses its effective functionality when you tend to eat more of refined carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar. This makes it very difficult to follow a moderate-calorie, healthy diet. Thus, it is really important to kick your sugar addiction and address weight gain and visceral fat formation as soon as possible.
4. Battle with Heart Disease and Strokes
Inflammation caused by excessive fat is the main contributor to heart disease and other inflammatory disorders. Visceral fat is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease markers like high triglycerides, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
SOLVING THE PROBLEM OF VISCERAL FAT
1. Opt for Healthy, Balanced Meals
Create and follow a meal plan that focuses on improving your health and helping you to lose weight. As per the recommendations given by the American Diabetes Association, limit your total daily fat intake to 20 – 30% of your total calories, saturated fat less than 70%, and eliminate harmful trans fats from the meals. Try to consume more of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein and complex carbohydrates such as beans, lentils and sprouted grains for energy and fiber. Also try to include healthy vegetable oils for cooking like coconut, sunflower, olive, avocado and grapeseed oils.
2. Incorporate Healthy Habits
It’s not only healthy eating but overall lifestyle habits that play a crucial role in getting rid of visceral fat. Say no to smoking, drinking, junk food, refined carbs if you are serious about getting fit. Choosing healthier lifestyle choices will improve your quality of life and will show up in weight loss. Along with this, make sure you incorporate the following in your daily living – deep breathing, yoga, quick walks, plenty of sleep.
3. Don’t Forget Exercising
It is important to exercise for at least 30 mins every day which will help you stay on track. If you lose around 5-10% of your total body weight it can actually help in reducing the visceral fat stores. In order to achieve this, you must burn more calories than you consume, and for that exercising is a must. Any form of exercising is welcomed – be it walking, circuit training, brisk waking, biking or any other activity.
4. Stay Motivated
It is important to understand that the process of weight loss does not happen overnight. Even a minuscule of weight loss will play an important role in reducing your visceral fat stores. This is enough motivation to stick with your eating and exercise program. Track your meals and exercise in a calories tracker app like MEVOLIFE, which will help you to reach your goals faster and speed up your weight loss journey.
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