The Dangers of Visceral Fat
Not all fat on our body is created equal. Fat is important because it provides energy, protects our organs and maintains our body temperature, but storing too much fat on our body can be dangerous. The most dangerous fat is visceral fat. Visceral fat, or belly fat, lies deep and out of reach inside our abdominal cavity wrapping and padding our internal organs. Excess visceral fat is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and certain cancers.
It can be hard to judge how much visceral fat you have, but generally having a waistline greater than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women indicates you are carrying too much belly fat.
But there is good news. Visceral fat can be reduced fairly easily with exercise and diet. Here are some tips to help you lose belly fat.
- Avoid added sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages. Excess sugar consumption has been shown to increase the accumulation of belly fat.
- Eat enough protein. Protein can help boost your metabolism, which promotes weight and visceral fat loss.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains (complex carbohydrates). Studies have found that diets with a lower glycemic load help reduce fat in the belly and around the organs.
- Eat foods rich in soluble fiber such as flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, legumes and grains. Soluble fibers can help reduce belly fat by suppressing your appetite.
- Limit alcohol intake. Drinking too much or even moderate amounts of alcohol may encourage fat to be stored in your belly.
- Do more aerobic exercises. Doing cardio exercises such as taking a brisk walk, jogging or swimming can be very effective in reducing belly fat.
Bottom Line: Visceral fat is harmful and can increase your risk of chronic diseases. Follow a healthy diet and exercise plan to reduce your visceral fat.
Written by: Christina Jung, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern