Visceral fat is the official name for the fat around our organs. It is not the same as subcutaneous fat found under the skin (body fat). Visceral fat and subcutaneous fat may, or not, appear together, but it is the Visceral fat that is a real trouble maker. It causes metabolic syndrome and chronic inflammation that leads to heart disease and diabetes. It literally encrusts the vital organs, the kidneys, liver, stomach, and others. It contributes to high blood pressure by squeezing the kidneys, working them and wearing them out. It also drains directly into the liver where it infiltrates, replacing functional tissue with fat (fatty liver).
Excess visceral fat can also lead to cancer or even sexual dysfunction. If you do carry excess visceral fat, the fat cells will send a signal to your bones to actually begin to break down, which is a precursor to Osteoporosis. Dr. Travis Stork talks about why having a lean belly is so dangerous in the video to the left.
Visceral fat is related to eating too many easily digested carbohydrates – simple sugars and processed starches, by being biochemically programmed to take up extra glucose and turn it into even more visceral fat!
Its job is to take carbohydrates out of the system when the liver stores are full.
Studies also suggest that saturated fat and drinking large amounts of any alcohol at once (binge drinking) leads to visceral fat.
Studies show that once we turn 40, we can easily accumulate 1 lb of visceral fat per year unless we take steps to fight that trend. The only way to combat this is through the correct type of exercise and by eating nutritionally balanced diet that supports your muscle mass and does not store fat!
Are You TOFI?
Thin Outside, Fat Inside
Studies suggest that up to 4 people out of 10 are TOFI, Thin Outside, Fat Inside. So, you my appear slim, but still have large amount of visceral ft, which puts your health at risk. In my opinion, when dealing with all my clients, this is the one stat that I take most seriously.
Professor Jimmy Bell, Head of the molecular imaging group at the Medical Research Council’s centre at the Imperial College, London, said:
“…this hidden fat could trigger heart conditions and diabetes. The important message is people should not be happy just because they look thin, it is not about looking fit or looking thin, it is about being healthy. You can look healthy, but still have a lot of internal fat, which can have a detrimental effect on your health. Even apparently slim people can have internal fat collected inside or around the liver, gut, heart and pancreas, or streaked through underused muscles…”
Visceral fat is basically a predictor of health risk. It cannot be measured by the standard bathroom scale, but some better quality scanners are available if you are happy to invest to have this kind of measuring tool at home to keep your gauges. CT scan or MRI are too expensive for routine use, but, if you are interested to find if your health is at risk, you can book your FREE No-Obligation 45 Minute Wellness Evaluation with us if you are local (Bath, BA1). We use medical grade inner scanner to measure Visceral Fat amongst other things and give you an estimate on your health risks, full evaluation and can recommend a course of action to help you improve your health.
Knowing the risks is the first step in improving your health.