Varieties of body fat and how to get rid of the most dangerous
Let’s start with the fact that there is nothing useless in the body. Fat is an important organ that produces hormonally active substances such as resistin, adiponectin and leptin, without which a person cannot live, much less reproduce. Nevertheless, the topic ‘how to lose visceral fat’ is seriously ahead of the search engine query ‘how to lose subcutaneous fat’, so we decided to bring in an expert and investigate the problem further.
What is visceral fat
Picture 1 – In Defence of the Waistline: How to trim visceral fat
The amount of fat each of us possesses differs in type and function. “For a detailed analysis of fat’s impact on the body, scientists have divided it into five main categories, each with its own characteristics: white, brown, beige, subcutaneous and visceral,” says nutritionist-endocrinologist Olga Tsvetaeva, presenting the characteristics of each variety.
White fat is the first fat we think of when we think of fat. It consists mainly of white adipocytes, the cells that define its name. Its main functions are energy storage in case of starvation and hormone production.
Brown fat works opposite to white fat: it does not store energy, but rather helps you spend it. By increasing the amount of brown fat you can speed up your metabolism, increase energy expenditure and maintain a normal body weight. The structure of this fat differs from white fat in the abundance of vessels and iron content, which gives it its characteristic colour. Beige fat is a transitional form, from which both white and brown fat can be formed under the influence of environmental conditions.
Subcutaneous fat makes up 90% of all body fat, located just under the skin. It is also recognised as a hormonally active tissue, capable of protecting the body from hypothermia, storing energy in case of malnutrition, pregnancy, lactation and showing cushioning properties.
Visceral fat is white fat that accumulates in the abdominal cavity around internal organs: liver, pancreas, heart, intestines. It accounts for about one-tenth of all fat present in the body.
Where does visceral fat come from?
Visceral fat accumulates in a very predictable scenario – when we consume a lot of calories and don’t move much. The location of fat accumulation is also affected by an inherited tendency inherent in the genes. Some people get fat in their thighs, shoulders and chest, while others simply get a bigger belly.
“‘Usually this unpleasantness is characteristic of men, but it also happens to women,’ explains Olga Tsvetaeva. – In addition, scientific evidence confirms that the distribution of fatty tissue is affected by the natural ageing process. Typically, after menopause, muscle mass decreases and the overall ability to accumulate fat, including in the abdominal area, increases. Many women in their 40s and 50s worry about how to lose visceral abdominal fat, even though they haven’t put on much weight.
What are the dangers of visceral fat
Medicine and wellness experts say that visceral fat is the most dangerous fat for your health. Its cellular structure does not allow for limitless accumulation, and eventually the fat ends up in the bloodstream – in the form of cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoproteins – causing cardiovascular problems, internal organ obesity and hypertension.
In other words, visceral fat accumulation is a sign of what is known as metabolic syndrome, a bouquet of health problems including insulin resistance, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which in turn increase the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
The researchers also found that visceral fat secretes retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), which increases insulin resistance, leading to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. In addition, by determining medical history, doctors associate excess visceral fat with the development of asthma, cancer, pancreatitis, gout, osteoarthritis and dementia.
How to spot excess visceral fat
Excess visceral fat can easily be detected by measuring your waist circumference. The following standards serve as a guide: 82 cm for women and 94 cm for men. If a tape measure shows a higher figure, take this as a signal to act.
Another technique to help you assess the amount of visceral fat in your body is to determine your waist-to-hip ratio. Measure your waist circumference at the widest part of your body and then divide your waist measurement by your hips. If you get more than 0.85 (for women) and 1.0 (for men), you’ve exceeded your visceral fat limit – it’s time to take action.
Dr. Banton suggests another way to diagnose visceral fat is to have an MRI scan. But because it’s an optional procedure, you’ll probably have to pay for it out-of-pocket, without any hope of getting insurance.
How to get rid of visceral fat
Even if you can’t change your genetics, hormones or age, you can lose weight and lose visceral fat by following a simple programme:
- Exercise – at least half an hour every day (cardio or strength training is better, but brisk walking and cycling count too);
- follow a healthy diet – increase your diet with unrefined foods, protein, unsaturated fatty acids, whole grains and fibre;
- Cut out sugary drinks and reduce alcohol intake;
- avoid smoking;
- get enough sleep.
The challenge of “how to lose visceral fat in women or men” does not imply much difference in approach. You can get rid of “bad” fat by following basic principles of a rational diet and paying attention to sports. The good news is that visceral fat responds better to diet and exercise than thigh fat, so you’ll get better results faster.
What is visceral fat?
Visceral fat is white fat that accumulates in the abdominal cavity around internal organs.
Where does visceral fat come from?
Visceral fat accumulates when we consume a lot of calories and don’t move much. The location of fat accumulation is also influenced by heredity.
What is visceral fat dangerous?
The fat gets into the bloodstream – in the form of cholesterol, triglycerides and lipoproteins – and causes cardiovascular problems, obesity of internal organs and hypertension.
How do you spot excess visceral fat?
Measure your waist and thigh circumferences at the widest area and then divide your waist measurement by your thigh measurement. If it’s above 0.85 (for women) and 1.0 (for men), you’re already overdoing it – it’s time to take action.
How do you get rid of visceral fat?
Exercise – at least half an hour every day; stick to a healthy diet; cut out sugary drinks and reduce alcohol intake; don’t smoke; get enough sleep.