Who does not desire a flat tummy?
The moment you look into the mirror, you start wondering how you can cut down that midsection. Be warned that belly fat is not only about looks, but it is more dangerous than you think. According to new studies, abdominal fat is a definite risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
What Are the Two Different Types of Fat We Store?
- Subcutaneous fat.
- Visceral fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the one we store just below the skin surface, while visceral fat is the one that is stored around the internal organs such as liver, pancreas, and intestines.
Why is this bad?
Storing visceral fat is dangerous due to the number of health risks associated with it.
- It affects hormonal functions.
- It causes inflammation of the organs.
- It leads to insulin resistance.
- It leads to glucose intolerance and finally, type 2 diabetes.
What Are the Significant Health Risks?
Type 2 diabetes, High blood pressure, Heart diseases, Breast cancer, Alzheimer’s.
How Can Visceral Fat Be Detected?
Waist Measurement: Men tend to store more fat in the abdominal area while women tend to do so in the hips and thigh region. But as a general rule, measuring your waist gives a better idea of your risk than BMI (body mass index).
Our body stores nearly 10 % of our total fat content in the form of visceral fat. That is why waist measurement gives us a good idea of our risk. A waistline of more than 35 inches (88 cm) in women and 40 inches (102 cm) in men is classified as a significant risk.
MRI scans: The sure-fire way to visualize the fat is by undergoing an MRI study, but it is not a cheap procedure and surely not recommended as a screening tool to assess diabetes risk.
Why Does Body Store Visceral Fat?
Research found that stress is the key factor. Stress is known to increase cortisol levels which is directly linked to visceral fat accumulation. In many people, high levels of mental stress promote binge eating. The stress hormones help deal with the stress effectively but cause the excess calories consumed to be stored as visceral fat in the belly area as opposed to storing it as subcutaneous fat all over the body. This mechanism is the reason stress is related to increase in visceral fat and in turn, increased chronic disease risk.
What Can I Do to Decrease My Risk?
- Resistance training (lifting weights) directly targets the fats better than cardio exercises.
- Cardio has its significance. So, try to include them in the routine as well.
- Have a lot of high-fiber foods.
- Cut down on processed foods.
- Keep yourself stress-free. Take time off every day for meditation and relaxation.