Visceral fat builds up around internal organs, such as the liver and intestines. Why is it harmful in high levels? And how to get rid of it.
Scientific research has linked high levels of visceral fat levels with various health conditions, such as heart disease, colorectal cancer and diabetes.
The charity Diabetes UK confirms that “higher amounts of visceral fat is associated with increased risks of type 2 diabetes”.
It adds: “Researchers have found that visceral [fat] secretes a protein called retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4), which has been shown to increase resistance to insulin.”
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Visceral fat has been observed to act like a hormone within the body.
This is how this type of body fat has earned the nickname “active fat”.
Expensive CT scans and full-body MRIs are the most precise way to measure visceral fat.
However, as most people don’t have free access to these facilities, waist circumference measurements can be a good predictor as to whether you’re carrying too much of it.
Harvard Medical School recommends people to use a sewing tape measure.
Measure the waistline at the level of the navel while breathing easily.
For women, a waist circumference 35 inches or larger suggests excess visceral fat levels.
For men, 40 inches or more suggest too much visceral fat inside the body.
How to get rid of visceral fat
Harvard Medical School adds: “Exercise can help reduce your waist circumference.”
It suggests engaging in 30 minutes of brisk walking most days during the week.
Johns Hopkins Medicine states exercise “determines how much fat builds up in the body”.
“It works to prevent and to reduce the build-up of belly fat”, says the medical experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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They go on to cite research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
The study involved 175 overweight people who didn’t exercise.
They were split into one of four groups: a no-exercise group; or one of three exercise groups.
After six months, the no-exercise group had gained belly fat whereas the exercise groups did not.
Additionally, results revealed that doing a brisk 30-minute walk, six times per week, was the most beneficial.
And doing more – not harder – exercise worked best to shed belly fat.
These results have convinced health professionals at Johns Hopkins Medicine that “exercise is a key part of losing belly fat”.
And with the sun shining outside, there’s no better time to go for a brisk walk than right now.
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