How to Banish Visceral Fat

visceral fat

Despite your best intentions, does your waistline seem to expand by the day?

If you’ve tried to shift the fat around your middle but discovered it stubbornly stays put, you’re not alone. Chances are your belly is the first place you gain fat and the last place to lose it. The culprit? Visceral fat.

This fat obstinately sitting around your abdomen is not only unsightly but it’s connected with a range of adverse health effects.

In support of National Obesity Awareness Week read on to learn about visceral fat, its health implications and most importantly how you can banish it for good.

What is Visceral Fat?

Visceral fat is a special type of fat found inside your abdominal cavity. It collects around your internal organs like your liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys and intestines. Apple-shaped people tend to have more of this fat in their belly area.

You have another type of fat just under your skin called subcutaneous fat, acting as an energy reservoir. It can be pinched with your fingers or measured with callipers. However annoying, this type of fat is simply that – stored energy.

Visceral Fat Affects Your Whole Body

It used to be thought all fat was an inert energy store, but science has now found visceral fat is different to subcutaneous fat. It feels harder – think of a firm beer belly, tight as a drum. But it’s also metabolically active, meaning it releases chemical messengers into your bloodstream, affecting your body in numerous ways. These chemicals include cytokines, which increase low-grade, harmful inflammation, and fatty acids, hindering the function of the liver and triggering a cascade of adverse health outcomes.

Because of this, visceral fat is linked with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia and some cancers such as breast and colon cancer. The more visceral fat you have, the more of these damaging chemicals are created in your body.

Visceral fat seems to be especially prone to promoting insulin resistance. This occurs when your body cells become less sensitive to insulin, raising blood glucose. Insulin resistance not only tends to increase obesity but is a risk factor for metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

The inflammatory chemicals released by visceral fat can also affect your hormone balance, disrupting your mood, hunger and your weight itself.

Finally, fat cells are prone to collect toxins and even pathogens such as viruses – the body sees fat as a safe storage space. But if the fat is coating your internal organs, it turns out not to be such a smart place to store them after all.

You might not suspect you have visceral fat. Even slim people with a normal BMI can have accumulations of visceral fat without knowing it’s there. But in general if you have a waist measurement of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, you’re likely to have

How to Bust the Fat

fat cell

If you reduce excess fat anywhere in your body, you’ll decrease visceral fat too. Healthy lifestyle strategies such as cardio exercise, eating plenty of fibre-rich plant foods, avoiding excessive carbs and sugar and reducing processed fats and alcohol can all help decrease fat.

To specifically target visceral fat, add in HIIT exercises and ensure you get enough quality sleep. Avoiding foods rich in fructose, especially soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), can help reduce visceral fat accumulation.

Stress and Visceral Fat – a Perfect Storm

The importance of managing stress deserves a special mention because it turns out stress can make you fat. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol. Visceral fat has more receptors for cortisol than other fat. If stress is ongoing, cortisol will be constantly high, encouraging your body to lay down more fat around your middle. Once visceral fat accumulates, you’ll tend to produce more cortisol, even after the stressful event has passed. The end result is you will inevitably accumulate more and more visceral fat in a stress/fat vicious cycle.

Good Gut Health

Some studies have shown supporting the health of your gut’s microbiome by giving supplements of healthy bacteria reduces abdominal obesity. So, nurturing healthy gut bacteria may help to combat visceral fat.

Banish Your Visceral Fat Forever

Accumulation of visceral fat is a sign your body is out of kilter. Imbalances, especially in your hormonal system, affect how readily your body will burn off stored fat.

If you’re struggling to shift belly fat, I can help. Functional testing can examine your hormones to see if your cortisol is in balance, evaluate your gut health and reveal whether inflammation is harming your health. A combination of personalised dietary, supplement and lifestyle measures can then optimise your metabolic health.

Contact Embracing Nutrition today to wave goodbye to harmful visceral fat.

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