We know that excess belly fat can lead to poor health later on. When it comes to weight gain, there are different types of weight gain that we can experience. Fat can be distributed differently: it can be subcutaneous or visceral. Subcutaneous fat lives under the skin and around the muscles. This is what we usually think of when we think of weight gain. Contrary to popular belief, this type of fat is the least damaging type of weight gain. Some research suggests that increasing subcutaneous fat may even protect against certain diseases.
There is another type of weight gain that has actually been shown to be more serious to our health – visceral fat. This is the fatty tissue that is stored in and around our internal organs. This type of fat mass has been widely linked to poor health outcomes. Let’s take a deeper look at the relationship between visceral fat and our health, then for even more tips, be sure to check out our list of 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Insulin resistance is often a precursor to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Insulin resistance can worsen blood sugar levels and affect the body’s ability to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Researchers have long hypothesized that increased visceral fat levels interfered with the body’s ability to use insulin.
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Among the types of fat in the body, the researchers found that visceral fat is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. This means that increased visceral fat storage increases the risk of cardiac events such as heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis – also known as plaque build-up in the arteries.
Increased visceral fat storage is linked to an increased incidence of diabetes. In the context of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels or when the cells are unable to properly absorb insulin due to high enough insulin resistance.
Researchers found that increased amounts of this type of fat correlated with increased triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream. High triglycerides are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, and extremely high triglycerides pose a risk of acute pancreatitis.
Metabolic syndrome is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that can contribute to the development of a chronic disease. The symptoms of metabolic syndrome are high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and increased belly fat. Researchers in Japan found a clear association between visceral fat and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome.
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