You may look like you have a normal size and shape body, but the scales don’t tell the whole story… Imagine having a huge store of fat you can’t even see or feel, that’s putting you at risk of developing things like diabetes and heart disease. And even being skinny won’t exclude you from this. This silent killer, know as Visceral Fat, is the internal fatty tissue that wraps itself around the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas, and streaks through muscles.
Who is fat on the inside?
‘Overweight people are more likely to have excess internal fat, but research suggests it’s probably because they are inactive, not because of their size itself. There is a group of people who are overweight but have little internal fat because they exercise regularly.
What Causes Visceral Fat?
Scientists don’t know exactly what causes people to put on internal fat. They have found some links to a high-fat diet. But they do know it behaves differently from the normal fat that lies just below the skin, the sort you can pinch between your fingers. Speak to your local biokinetics practitioner to find out if you have a dangerous level of internal fat.
The Dangers of Having High Levels of Visceral Fat
Visceral fat is dangerously toxic. It looks like a lump of lard, but it’s actually highly active. It’s constantly pumping poisons into your bloodstream. It is also known to cause inflammation in the colon and the artery walls and is a major cause of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. Research even suggests that visceral fat affects your mood by increasing production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and reducing levels of feel-good endorphins.
So, along with killing you, visceral fat can make you feel low.
What Can Increase Your Visceral Fat Levels
The tendency to gain weight around the middle of the body
Eating processed foods high in additives, synthetic flavors and preservatives
Poor nutrition from eating a low nutrient dense diet known as “empty calories.”
Drinking high levels of alcohol.
Taking many different medications
Crash dieting with poor nutrition
Lack of exercise
High cortisol levels caused by stress
Not getting enough sleep
How Visceral Fat Can Be Reduced
Does Dieting Reduce Visceral Fat?
Quite the opposite, especially if you are a serial crash-dieter. When you diet, you do lose some internal fat, but when you put the weight back on, a large percentage gets deposited internally, and more serial dieters end up with more Visceral fat. If you want to reduce Visceral fat, it is much safer to do it slowly and mainly through exercise rather than calorie restriction alone.
A high plant-based and nutrient-rich diet can reduce visceral fat. It supports a healthy metabolism that keeps the organs clean and metabolizing fats accordingly.
Does Working Out Reduce Visceral Fat?
Doing regular moderate exercise like steady state cardio (walking, cycling, jogging) can reduce your internal fat. Not only does it reduce Visceral fat effectively, it is also easier to stick to. Steady state cardio seems better at getting rid of internal fat than the fat we can see on the outside. Don’t worry if jogging is doing nothing for your love handles. It’s probably burning your inner fat and prolonging your life…
Here are Some Tips for Fighting Visceral Fat
Exercise – a few sessions a week of steady state cardio
Follow a high plant-based diet – raw fruits and vegetables contain important enzymes which are vital for a healthy metabolism
Avoid highly processed foods – such as cakes, biscuits, pre-packaged foods, takeaways, soft drinks, lollies or candies, vegetable fats etc.
Keep a lookout for food chemicals – Freerange and natural is the way to go.
Reduce alcohol intake significantly
Get adequate sleep
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