Visceral Fat-Why is it Harmful – by Dr. harold
Let us talk about Visceral Fat, today –What, is visceral? let’s define that word first. It refers to ‘unreasoning’, But also refers to the internal organs in your belly.
Fat is found under the skin which gives identity to the genders. Fat distribution in ladies is different to that of men.
Men do concentrate their excess dietary fat in the belly, wrapped around the vital organs including the liver, pancreas and intestines. And that fat is referred to visceral fat. This shape of the belly in men is described as apple shape
In women, the fat is mainly under the skin and the belly shape is more like a pear.
Dietary fats are not just a source of energy; they function as structural building blocks of the body, carry fat-soluble vitamins, are involved in vital physiological processes in the body, and are indispensable for several important biological functions including growth and development.
So, why is visceral fat considered so bad news?
Having too much of fat inside the abdominal cavity is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease and even cancer
Regardless of shape or size you could carry excess visceral fat.
We all have visceral fat surrounding our internal organs, and too much causes the problems.
An adult man’s waist measurements at naval level should be under 40 inches and woman less than 35 inches.
Now what increases this fat?
Factors which contributes to visceral fat include stress, diet, and lack of exercise
Healthy lifestyle will reduce your chances of visceral fat accumulating in your belly.
High carbohydrate diets and secretion of extra insulin tend to increase the accumulation of visceral fat.
So, taking too much of foods containing added sugars are the culprits. When there is too much glucose in our blood stream glucose is stored as fat. This happens quicker when you consume refined process carbohydrates and sugary foods.
These carbs release insulin from the pancreas and results in weight gain by storing the excess sugar as fat in the body. For some reason visceral fat that accumulates seem to harm you more than being beneficial unlike the fat that accumulates in other parts of the body by producing a chemical called interleukin a type of inflammatory molecule. They can trigger sometimes a series of autoimmune reactions, and linked with cognitive decline, arthritis, diabetes and so on.
Excess alcohol consumption also gives a big belly in addition to other harmful effects.
The others are- Trans-fat. Trans-fats are found in foods in the supermarket to increase their shelf-life. All frozen foods are full of them. They replace your good healthy fat in your body and plays havoc and cause diseases including cancer. More wrong type of unhealthy bacteria is produced in your large gut. Sodas and fruit juices can all increase your belly fat due to the added sugar content.
The new trend among the young working people is to buy ready made foods from the supermarkets and eat on the way to work. No time for having home cooked foods. These readymade foods are full of trans fats that will affect the future generations and would be as bad as the effects of climate changes.
Adipo-pectin a collagen like plasma protein secreted by the fat cells play a causal role in the development of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. This protein is found to be less in cases of insulin resistance, diabetes, atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
It is also found low in those having high levels of visceral fat.
To check whether you have too much of visceral fat ask your doctor to test your adipo-pectin levels in your blood and confirm by doing a cat scan.
You do not have to worry about the pinchable fat under the belly skin. It causes no threat unlike the visceral fat.
The good news is that visceral fat yields easily to exercise and diet with benefits ranging from lower BP and low cholesterol levels.
Having a lean belly is a sign of good health
High risks with visceral fat are:-
Diabetes, increased inflammation, makes it harder to lose weight, heart disease, Dementia, depression and mood problems.
Eat a balanced diet with less processed foods and carbs with added sugars
Exercise daily- walk at least 10,000 steps a day.
See your doctor for further direction.
Presented by Dr Harold Gunatillake FRCS, FIACS, FICS, AM (Sing), MB, BS (Cey)