What is visceral fat?

The visceral fat It is a type of fat that is stored around internal organs of the abdominal cavity. It differs from peripheral or subcutaneous fat, which are fatty deposits in the subcutaneous tissue or hypodermis.

Visceral fat levels are usually very low, although some people can develop larger deposits, such as those with a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits.

Visceral fat has a greater impact on health than subcutaneous fat. Is associated with cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Losing visceral fat often requires a combination of cardiovascular aerobic exercise and dietary changes.

Location of visceral fat
Localization of visceral fat and subcutaneous fat

Visceral fat accumulation

The development of these fatty deposits is due to several reasons. The most common are diets high in fat and simple sugars next to one sedentary life.

Not exercising for long periods often has a cumulative effect, causing you to accumulate visceral fat faster and faster. However, a little activity can inhibit its development.

Other factors directly related to lifestyle, such as lack of sleep or stress, also increase the risk of developing this type of fat.

The age it is one of the main factors to gain visceral fat. As we get older it goes losing muscle mass and gaining a higher percentage of body fat in general. This also affects energy consumption and the way the body burns calories making it easier fat accumulation.

The hormonal changes they also have a prominent role, particularly in postmenopausal women. Some people also have genetic factors that predispose them to develop more visceral fat than others even being in a normal weight range.

In general, a Body Mass Index greater than 30 indicates overweight and is an indication of high levels of visceral fat.

health effects

Visceral fat is associated with significant negative health effects the most important being hypertension, cardiovascular disease, hormonal imbalances and increased risk of type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance.

It is also associated with higher levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad”) and lower levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol as well as an increased risk of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and colorectal cancer.

It is believed that abdominal fat deposits may be more dangerous than peripheral fat due to their proximity to the main hepatic vein that carries blood to the liver from the surrounding intestine.

Substances excreted by fatty deposits, especially by adipocytes, would pass into the blood circulation and reach the liver where they could be retained and affect blood levels of fat and cholesterol.

lose visceral fat

The reduction of visceral fat usually requires the combination of aerobic exercise and changes in dietary habits. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, four days a week, is usually recommended. This exercise can consist of light walking and can be increased in intensity as physical fitness improves.

Although this exercise has a significant impact on visceral fat, it can take a long time for noticeable weight loss to occur. resistance exercisessuch as sit-ups and squats, can make you gain muscle mass in the area but not very effective at reducing visceral fat.

When it comes to diet, avoid sugary drinks and products rich in simple carbohydrates. You also have to avoid high-fat foods, especially saturated fat. Diets high in fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and high-fiber foods such as whole grains are recommended.

The dietary requirements of each person vary considerably and if necessary it is best to consult a nutritionist.

Along with dietary and physical exercise measures, other lifestyle habits must be changed, such as quitting smoking, minimizing the consumption of alcoholic beverages, getting enough rest and reducing stress.

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