The Dangers of Visceral Fat
Are you carrying some extra weight around your middle? That fat around your belly affectionately known as your “love handles” or “muffin top,” may sound cute, but can be dangerous! Call our South Burlington chiropractors for help today.
Surprisingly, not all fat is bad. In fact, some fat may actually be beneficial to your body. The important thing is that you are knowledgeable about the type of fat you have. There are two types of fat, which type do you have?
Subcutaneous Fat: This type of fat lies just below the skin and is quite noticeable. It tends to jiggle, have dimples and cellulite. Subcutaneous fat can actually improve glucose metabolism and communicate with your organs to elicit beneficial effects.
Visceral Fat: This type of fat, more common in men, is found deeper inside your stomach, under your abdominal muscles and around your vital organs. This dangerous type of fat has been linked to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, certain cancers and stroke.
Visceral fat is dangerous because it is related to the release of proteins and hormones that can cause inflammation. This inflammation can damage your arteries, enter your liver and negatively affect how your body breaks down sugars and fats. The proximity of the visceral fat to your liver is important as it can boost production of bad cholesterol. As time goes by, plaque becomes inflamed which in turn narrows your arteries due to swelling. These narrow passageways increase your blood pressure, strain the heart and increase your risk of blood clots.
What causes Visceral Fat? Your genetic makeup can have something to do with the amount of visceral fat you carry, although this only plays a small part. Your diet and activity level have a much deeper impact on your level of visceral fat. If you do not exercise and consume excessive empty calories you may be at a higher risk!
Are you at risk?
If you’re male, these guidelines apply:
- Ideal waist measurement: between 31 and 36 inches
- Overweight: between 36 and 40 inches
- Obese: over 40 inches
- Ideal waist measurement: between 28 and 33 inches
- Overweight: between 33 and 37 inches
- Obese: over 37 inches
If you do fall into one of the overweight or obese category there is hope! The first thing you will want to do is eliminate sugar from your diet. Sugar has zero nutritional value and is very addictive. Avoid soda, juice, sport drinks, high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar. Starches that are in the form of grains and potatoes metabolize into sugar and should also be eliminated. Lastly you will want to cut out trans-fat and processed foods such as margarine, packaged foods, potato chips and hamburgers.
Once your diet has improved you will want to focus on exercise. Studies have shown that consistent exercise can help rid your body of visceral fat. Exercise reduces inflammation and can help normalize insulin and leptin levels. Start of slow and try to work your way up to an hour a day of activity.
Getting your nutrition and exercise regimen in check will start you on a path to lose that visceral fat! It may not be easy, but it is so worth it.