The Most Dangerous Fat and How To Lose It

Maintaining a fit midsection does more than make you look and feel good, it can help you live longer.  Most fat in our bodies is subcutaneous, meaning is lies directly beneath your skin and you can pinch it with your fingers. Visceral fat lies deeper within the abdomen, surrounding and protecting your vital organs. Carrying a high amount of visceral fat is can lead to a number of health problems including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression and other serious diseases/conditions.

Risks and Dangers of Carrying Visceral Fat

Health risks of carrying excess visceral fat include:

High levels of visceral fat can result in increased insulin resistance, which may lead to glucose intolerance and even type 2 diabetes.

Research has shown that the size of your belly is a somewhat predictable indicator of the health risks linked to visceral fat. There are many different ways to measure visceral fat.  From home, an easy way to tell if you may be at risk is by measuring the size of your waist.  Measure your waistline at the level of the belly button, not at the narrowest part of the torso. If you are a woman and measure over 35 inches, or a man and measure over 40 inches, you may want to make changes in your diet and lifestyle.

How Can I See How Much Visceral Fat I Have?

At OSR Weight Management, in addition to weekly measurements, we use a Tanita scale. The Tanita uses the very latest multi-frequency technology to record a full body composition analysis (including visceral fat levels) in just 20 seconds.

The good news is, visceral fat is extremely responsive to diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. With each pound you lose, you can lose some visceral fat.

Tips to help reduce visceral fat:

  • Follow a healthy, well-balanced diet: Eliminate high processed, high-sugar foods from your diet, and include more lean proteins and vegetables.  Phase 1 on Ideal Protein is a great start to targeting that pesky visceral fat!
  • Get Your Sleep: Research suggests getting too much or too little sleep can add visceral fat over time. Aim for around six to eight hours of sleep a night.
  • Get Moving: Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. Visceral fat responds well to regular endurance exercises such as brisk walking, hiking, biking, and swimming; anything that can help elevate your heart rate. You can also add light weights/strength training for added benefits.
  • Reduce Stress: The stress hormone cortisol can actually increase how much visceral fat your body stores; reducing the stress in your life will help you to lose it. Practice meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and other stress management tactics.
  • Practice healthier lifestyle choices: Quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake (if you are on IP Phase 1-3, you should be avoiding alcohol completely). Studies have shown a link between smoking and increased visceral and insulin resistance. Alcoholic drinks can contain too many calories with no real nutritional value. Too much alcohol can lead to excessive amounts of additional calories in your diet.  If you are unable to burn these extra calories as fuel, they will be stored in the body as fat.


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