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What is Visceral Fat?

Unlike subcutaneous fat which primarily resides directly under the skin, there is a much more dangerous type of fat to be aware of – visceral fat. This type of fat hides around the nooks and crannies deep within your abdomen and creates a cellulite swamp of fatty tissue covering organs and clotting arteries. Undoubtedly you’ve heard the terms “pot belly” and “beer belly”. This visceral fat takes up residence in the abdominal cavity, especially around the liver, and can cause quite a protuberance if ignored. Sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets are the main culprits for this type of fat overload, thus a lifestyle and dietary overhaul would seem appropriate to stunt any future fatty growth and eliminate the visceral fat that’s already accumulated, right?

Let’s first talk about the dangers of visceral fat. Studies have shown an accumulation of visceral fat to have a hand in the body’s susceptibility to major health risks. Because visceral fat is located in the abdominal area, among your major organs, you can be sure it’s also affecting your overall health. We know the heart is a muscle and we know the heart has to beat for us to live. But if those little blood pumping arteries are so clogged up with fats and cholesterol, the heart is not working properly. This opens the door for a plethora of cardiac complications; hypertension, heart attack, stent placement, angiogram and a host of cardiovascular medications prescribed to counteract the damage. And that’s not nearly the whole problem. You’ve also got the potential for type 2 diabetes as your liver, which is trying to figure out what to do with all this fat it’s supposed to process, triggers an insulin resistance. So now you’ve got a host of potential cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and we’ll top off the list with an over-abundance of cholesterol shooting through your veins compliments of the liver. Can you see the vicious cycle of events going on here?

Now that we know exactly why we need to avoid too much visceral fat, let’s take a look at what we might be doing to promote it. If any of the following plague your life you could be subjecting your body to excess visceral fat and the dangerous complications:

  • Sedentary lifestyle (little to no exercise)
  • Obesity
  • Smoker
  • Drinker (more than 2 alcoholic drinks on a daily basis)
  • Unbalanced diet (high in fat, especially)
  • High stress levels (long-term)

In the plight to become healthier, more physically fit and incorporating a better diet we are forced to face the belly fat. Here’s the kicker: Visceral fat is harder to get rid of than subcutaneous fat. Don’t get discouraged just yet though… harder doesn’t mean impossible. Adding an extra hour to your exercise regimen broken down by day only means an extra few minutes a day. If you don’t currently exercise, you’ll need to get on the ball and find a plan, at least 3 hours a week, of heart-rate-raising physical activity along with waist slimming exercises. Choosing a side salad instead of deep fried potato skins is another step in the right direction. Try incorporating some fat burning foods into your daily intake. Getting rid of visceral fat and maintaining a balanced diet along with regular exercise is your ticket to a longer, slimmer and healthier life!

Kevin Bender

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