The dangers of belly fat are not just the unattractive bulge that shows.
Having extra chub is just the outward sign of having too much visceral fat — the stuff that is easily visible is called subcutaneous fat because it collects just under the skin. Visceral fat is stored deeper inside the abdomen and surrounds the vital organs of the intestines, liver, and the pancreas.
Medical News Today notes that the dangers of having too much visceral fat include increasing the chances of getting heart disease and having heart attacks. Too much of it may result in having an increased resistance to insulin, which then leads to intolerance for glucose that is the precursor for getting diabetes. In this way, visceral fat increases the chance of getting type two diabetes. This can cause increased blood pressure and create more risk of having a stroke. Having too much visceral fat is also involved in an increased risk of breast cancer and colon cancer, as well as more chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
PopSugar reports that the trouble with visceral fat is that it is more active than subcutaneous fat. While the stuff stored just under the skin is unsightly, it basically just sits there and does little more than that. Visceral fat, which is found deeper inside, is much more dangerous because it releases hormones and causes inflammation. This activity is the source of all kinds of problems.
Some common causes of having too much belly fat include eating too much sugar and drinking too much alcohol, which is why a big gut is called a “beer” belly. Stress also plays a role in the accumulation of visceral fat. When a person undergoes stress, the body releases a hormonal chemical called cortisol. Cortisol is part of the body’s survival mechanism from ancient times and this hormone causes the body to store fat under times of stress.
An easy method to determine excessive visceral fat is to measure the circumference of the waist right at the top of the hips and going around the abdomen when a person is standing. A waist circumference of higher than 40 inches for males and 35 inches for females is an indication of having too much visceral fat. Another measurement is to determine the body mass index (BMI) using the calculator offered by the National Institute of Health, which shows a comparison with the average BMI based on height and weight.
To reduce visceral fat, doctors recommend reducing carbohydrate intake, which means eating fewer sugars and drinking less alcohol. Adding exercise is important, especially cardio exercise routines that increase the heart rate and improve circulation. Stress relief is also helpful — that includes yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Understanding all of these risks is a great motivator to lose excess belly fat. Not only will you look better, but your overall health will improve.