Visceral fat and 5 things you can do to lose it
What is visceral fat?
Visceral fat, also known as ‘belly fat’ or ‘hidden fat’, is fat stored deep inside the belly. Some levels of visceral fat are healthy and help protect your organs, including your stomach, liver, and intestines. However, too much of it can be dangerous for your health.
The best way to prevent excess buildup of visceral fat is by exercising and eating a healthy diet.
What causes visceral fat?
Your genetics will determine the shape of your body and how it stores visceral fat. But environmental factors can play a key role as well.
A poor diet consisting of heavily processed foods, excess sugar, and an inactive lifestyle are the main cause of visceral fat buildup.
Stress can also significantly increase the storage of visceral fat.
5 ways to get rid of your visceral fat
1. Eat a healthy diet.
Replacing unhealthy, processed foods with whole foods like lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, complex carbs like beans, whole wheat, brown rice, and quinoa, and healthy fats is a great way to reduce excess visceral fat in your body.
Fitting aerobic exercise into your routine can help burn excess belly fat. A few brisk walks per week is a great place to start.
3. Get plenty of sleep.
A good night’s sleep can be very beneficial to your health. Research shows that increasing the average amount of sleep you get from 6 hours to 7-8 can help reduce visceral fat gain.
4. Reduce stress levels.
Stress activates a hormone in your body called cortisol. The more stress you experience, the more cortisol will be released, which triggers the storage of more visceral fat.
5. Limit how much alcohol you consume.
Drinking too much alcohol could increase the amount of visceral fat stored by your body.
Visceral fat vs. essential and subcutaneous fat
Fat is something your body can’t live without. It has essential nutrients, is a source energy, and your body needs fat to absorb specific vitamins. But not all types of fat are created equal.
Besides visceral fat, your body also stores essential and subcutaneous fat.
Essential fat is fat found in your brain, nerves, and bone marrow. Subcutaneous fat refers to the fat stored under your skin. The majority of your body fat is subcutaneous and can be squeezed or pinched.
Subcutaneous fat accumulates in the lower body and gives your body a pear shape. Fat in the abdominal area, which results in an apple-shaped body, is largely visceral.
Why is visceral fat unhealthy?
Fat cells store excess energy but can also produce hormones and inflammatory substances. Over time, chronic inflammation can cause long-term health problems.
How much visceral fat is healthy?
About 10% of your body fat is visceral fat.
You can figure out your visceral fat level by calculating your total body fat percentage and then taking off 10%.
Measuring your waist is the easiest way to see if you’re at risk for health issues caused by visceral fat. For women, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more means you’re at risk for health problems stemming from visceral fat. For men, the number is 40 inches or more.
Is visceral fat hard to lose?
Visceral fat is easier to lose than subcutaneous fat because it metabolizes quickly and your body can get rid of it as sweat or pee.
What food causes visceral fat?
Foods high in trans fats, refined sugars, and sodium are the biggest culprit when it comes to causing visceral fat.