The Dangers Of Visceral Abdominal Fat
In the olden days body fat was considered to be mainly a storage mechanism for our bodies in order to have an easily accessed supply of energy in the event of food shortage or prolonged periods of activity. However we know today that there are different kinds of fat- visceral (surrounding the abdominal organs) or subcutaneous (fat that lies between the skin and the abdominal walls). The cosmetic considerations aside, several studies show that high visceral fat levels increase risk factors for insulin resistance, which sets the stage for type 2 diabetes. (Some research suggests that the deeper layers of subcutaneous fat may also be involved in the development of insulin resistance (in men but not in women).
Visceral Abdominal Fat Plays A Major Role In Developing Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease
These fat cells in the abdominal area are not merely inert storage mechanisms- in fact they are very much biologically active. In a way you should think of fat as an organ onto itself, as it is able to produce hormones and other substances that can have a profound effect on our health. One such hormone secreted by fat cells is leptin. Leptin is usually released after a meal and sends a signal to your brain for you to stop eating. Another hormone produced by visceral fat cells is the hormone adiponectin, which is thought to influence the response of our cells to insulin. Although scientists are still learning more everyday about the roles of individual hormones, it is clear that excess body fat, especially visceral abdominal fat seems to disrupt the normal balance and functioning of these hormones. Thus our body doesn’t secrete insulin the way it should (insulin resistance) and our we overeat because our leptin levels are disrupted by the increased presence of visceral fat.
Visceral Abdominal Fat Creates Chronic Inflammation & Increase Cancer Risks
Another finding that has researchers looking at the link between abdominal fat deposits and increased risk of metabolic syndrome is the role of cytokines. Visceral fat produces these immune system chemicals (namely tumor necrosis factor and interleukin y6) that can bring about an increase in insulin resistance, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammation. Research also shows that there are other biochemicals coming from visceral abdominal fat that appear to have negative effects on insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and the body’s blood clotting ability. The alarming news is that the dangers of increased visceral abdominal fat don’t end at heart disease and diabetes, studies have found that a waist to hip ratio higher than 0.85 was linked to a 52% increase in risk for colorectal cancer among women.
Visceral Abdominal Fat Hampers Daily Activity & Brain Function
Another study on atherosclerosis done at Wake Forest University in North Carolina found interestingly enough that even among people of normal weight, those with higher waist to hip ratios had just as much difficulty performing the daily tasks of everyday life as those that with a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). Apparently having a big belly seems to make simple tasks such as getting out of bed and performing routine household chores far more difficult! More shocking was a study presented at an annual meeting for the Society for Neuroscience which found that older people with bigger bellies had on average worse memory and less verbal fluency, and that was even when adjustments were made in the study to take diabetes into account.
How Do I Get Rid Of Visceral Fat?
So how do we combat this nefarious form of fat around our waists? Simple, exercise in conjunction with healthy eating are the most universally accepted and proven methods of reducing visceral abdominal fat. The great part is that by making healthy eating and exercising a regular part of your life not only will you reduce your risk of developing potentially fatal diseases, but you will look and feel better in the process as well!
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Kevin Richardson is one of New York City’s most sought after personal trainers and the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training. Get a copy of Kevin’s award winning free weight loss ebook here and visit his official website at www.naturallyintense.net.