We all know how to pinch an inch – that's the "subcutaneous fat" just under our skin. But did you know that there is another type of more dangerous fat known as "visceral fat" and that it could slowly kill you? And what's worse, you can't see it, so you may not even know how badly you are putting your health at risk.
So what exactly is visceral fat. Visceral fat is the type of fat that lies behind your abdominal wall in the cavity where your vital organs are also located. If you have too much of this fat, it will crowd around your liver, pancreas, intestines, and heart and lungs. It is the result of a diet that is overly dependent on processed, sugary foods and a lifestyle that includes too much alcohol, too much stress, or too little sleep. Read more about how alcohol can harm your health here.
A shocking autopsy video I recently saw on YouTube (which immediately put me off lunch) showed that with excessive fat, these type of fat pathologists have a hard time finding even the heart due to the amount of lumpy fat sitting on it it. I watched in horror as the pathologist pointed out the small lungs (this was a man with 25 stones / 150 pounds); They were as small as they had so little space. I thought about how hard it must have been for this man to breathe at all. And we saw a comparison of the size of his organs with the organs of a healthy man (they were literally three times the size). If you're not too squeamish, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you the link to the video – it's an eye opener for sure!
But we're not going to do all the autopsies just yet. So how can we find out if we are at risk for this type of dangerous fat? The most accurate way to assess visceral fat is with a DEXA scan. However, this is not necessary as there are other, simpler, cheaper options.
The first is to simply measure your waist around the narrowest point. If you are a woman and have a reading of 89 cm or more, and if you are a man of 101 cm or more, chances are your visceral fat rating is too high (potentially dangerous).
If you are a customer of Motivation or would like to become one, we can also give you a “visceral fat rating” with our Tanita scales (this can be done regularly so you can enjoy the decrease in visceral fat rating and enter the normal category which is 1-12). A rating of 13 or higher is a warning sign that we will always point out in your consultation – not as a means to shock you, but frankly it is our responsibility to inform you that your health is at serious risk.
What are the risks of visceral fat?
The risks associated with this type of fat are terrifying. These include high blood pressure (which puts you at risk of heart attack / stroke) and an increased risk of diseases associated with inflammation in the body (due to the hormone that secretes fat and causes inflammation), including arthritis and even cancer. Excess visceral fat can also affect the way your liver works and lead to insulin resistance (this is the onset of type II diabetes). In addition, research has shown that high visceral fat storage is actually related to Alzheimer's and dementia.
The good news
Thankfully, visceral fat isn't hard to lose. In fact, it is easier to lose than subcutaneous fat. With every pound you lose on the scales, you are losing visceral fat. In fact, visceral fat is the first type of fat you lose. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, even a small amount of weight loss improves your visceral fat stores and all related health parameters.
The best approach is a combination of a healthier diet and lifestyle (including exercise and reduced stress, as research shows that high levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – can increase your chances of higher visceral fat stores).
One experiment that was very encouraging was conducted by the research team from the BBC's Trust Me I'm a Doctor program. They recruited 35 volunteers and divided them into exercise-only and diet-only groups over a six-week period. The group that worked with a nutritionist to reduce their portions was the clear winner; and the results have been impressive. On average, based on DEXA scans, they lost 8 pounds / 3.6 kg, reducing body fat by 5% and visceral fat by a whopping 14%. Not only that, but her other health parameters like blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels also improved.
So in summary, it's diet that is really important when it comes to visceral fat, in addition to relieving stress and trying to get more sleep. When it comes to motivation, this is our specialty. We can show you how to eat in ways that will improve your health, reduce your fat levels, and prevent hunger at the same time. We will work with you and monitor you closely so that together we can have a major impact on your visceral fat reserves. research shows, in just six short weeks. Don't wait any longer for this nasty visceral fat to damage your body. Act today and book an assessment with Motivation Wight Management.