Most People Get Visceral Fat This Way Now
Visceral fat isn't talked about enough outside the health and medical communities, but it's a hidden health problem that can cause serious issues like stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and more. Visceral fat is located deep in your abdomen and wraps around your vital organs, which we obviously can't see, so most people don't know they have visceral fat. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Sean Marchese, MS, RN, a registered nurse at The Mesothelioma Center with a background in oncology clinical trials and over 15 years of direct patient care experience, who shares why visceral fat is so unhealthy and what causes it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Why Visceral Fat is so Dangerous
Marchese explains, "The term visceral refers to deep tissues or organs, and visceral fat includes the stores of body fat located deep below the skin, close to organs such as the liver and intestines. Because of its proximity to essential organs and body systems, visceral fat has the potential to cause issues with metabolism, digestion or even the cardiac and nervous systems. Visceral fat can cause abnormal hormone levels and immune system signals called cytokines, potentially toxic to the cardiovascular system."
Why More People Don't Know About Visceral Fat?
"Subcutaneous fat makes up about 90% of body fat and lies just below the skin," says Marchese. "Many people may not realize there are different types of fat and that belly or abdominal fat is much more dangerous. Visceral fat is also called hidden fat because it's harder to notice how much has accumulated. Another term people may recognize is apple vs. pear-shaped bodies. Apple-shaped bodies with more abdominal or visceral fat tend to have bellies that extend outward rather than pear-shaped bodies, which accumulate subcutaneous fat on the flanks."
How Do People Know They Have Visceral Fat
According to Marchese, "Body changes caused by visceral fat are subtle but still noticeable. If you feel like your body shape has changed over time or you're experiencing changes in mood, metabolism and appetite (signs many people associate with aging), an increase in visceral fat may be the culprit. Visceral fat can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes if left unchecked. Regular diet and exercise is the best way to fight back against abdominal fat. Healthy nutrition and food portions, along with 30 minutes of exercise per day, can decrease risks associated with visceral fat. Of course, if you've noticed any changes to your body, your primary health physician can help determine the cause and create a personalized plan to reduce risk."
There's many ways we can help prevent visceral fat, but there's nothing we can do about genetics. Marchese says, "Scientific evidence tells us that our genes may play a role in body fat distribution, explaining why we have different body types. Some studies suggest DNA may be responsible for up to 60% of our fat distribution. "
Too Little Activity
One way we can help avoid visceral fat is by staying active. Marchese states, "When we exercise, our body uses fat to create energy and burn calories. When we consume more calories than we burn, the body stores them as fat, and long-term fat storage can produce dangerous chemicals that lead to disease."
"Some foods are more efficient at becoming stored fat than fat your body can use quickly," Marchese reminds us. "Sugary foods, beverages and alcohol create an abundance of calories that not only lead to increased fat storage but can activate cortisol and other hormones that promote abdominal fat buildup further. Eating and drinking unhealthy foods or too many calories can increase sleepiness and decrease the motivation to exercise, increasing the risk of abdominal fat buildup."