What is it?
Visceral fat is located in the intra-abdominal part of the body (around the torso). It is stored further under the skin than the 'subcutaneous' belly fat that we can see and are often looking to reduce. Its gel like in form and wraps around major organs. A clear sign of high visceral fat is a protruding belly and large waist.
How does it affect the body?
It is considered toxic and is capable of provoking inflammatory pathways in the body. These fat cells act like an organ and produce pro-inflammatory chemicals (cytokines), which in turn, negatively interferes with the bodies hormones that regulate appetite, weight, mood and brain function. Therefore, high levels of visceral fat can have a negative effect on our mood (causing and contributing to stress, anxiety and depression), increased appetite (which causes us to overeat, which of course makes us overweight in time). Plus, many more implications.
Carrying excess visceral fat increases the risk of:
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Sleep Disorders
How does it develop?
When we eat sugary based foods (carbohydrates), the body breaks it down into glucose. The body then releases insulin to help store this glucose into cells to be used as energy. This is a vital process in our body, however when the body has too much glucose (sugar), it then stores it as fat, and due to the extra fat we have it creates more hunger, which then causes us to eat more (overeat). This can turn into a viscous circle that we are unaware of, and really emphasises the need for us to reduce the amount of unhealthy sugary foods we consume at any one time.
Another contributor to our bodies developing visceral fat is stress. When our body is under stress, it releases a hormone called Cortisol, and this hormone negatively effects our body's appetite control, metabolism, sleep and cravings.
5 ways to reduce Visceral Fat:
- Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Fill up on Non-starchy Veggies, Healthy fats and Protein
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce stress (Hot Bath, Meditation, Mindfulness, Music, Play Sports, spend time with loved ones etc.)
- Prioritise good sleep (this resets our stress hormones and appetite as well as boost our metabolism)
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.