Fat is indeed an important macro nutrient for the body. However, not all types of fats are good for health. One of them is visceral fat. This fat in the stomach can be dangerous because it increases the risk of disease.
What is visceral fat?
Visceral fat is active fat that wraps around the organs in the abdominal space in the body. Visceral fat is commonly referred to as abdominal fat. Visceral fat is referred to as active fat because it can actively increase the risk of various diseases.
Because it is inside the abdominal cavity, visceral fat will be difficult for us to feel. If you can pinch a stomach that feels fatty, it’s not necessarily visceral fat. The fat that we can touch and feel in the stomach is called subcutaneous fat.
Visceral fat causes
One of the triggering factors for the onset of visceral fat piles is the excessive calorie consumption. The body will store excess calories in the form of fat reserves. This is what makes you have to more carefully limit your daily calorie intake. Because your body doesn’t need too many calories. Especially if you are an office worker who sits more when you get the job done.
Not only excessive caloric intake, diet with large consumption of meat is also another contributing factor. The body needs a balanced intake of nutrients derived from vegetables, fruits, and legumes. In order not to accumulate harmful fats, you should compensate for the consumption of meat by eating vegetables, fruits, and nuts that are balanced portions.
Why is visceral fat so dangerous?
Viscerals are actually important for the body, since they protect internal organs, however, the total amount should not exceed 10-15 percent of the total amount of all body fat. Having more visceral fat than normal can be harmful to health.
Excess visceral fat can trigger diseases such as varicose veins because there is excessive pressure on the legs, myocardial infarction because when the heart is covered by fat and begins to fail, the disease is oncological, hormonal disorders and violations of metabolic processes in the body.
Visceral fat complications
Visceral fat can immediately cause health problems. It can increase insulin resistance, even if you have never had diabetes or prediabetes. Research has found that this may be because retinol binding proteins that increase insulin resistance are secreted by this type of fat. Visceral fat can also raise blood pressure quickly.
Most importantly, carrying excess visceral fat increases your risk of developing some serious life-threatening and long-term medical conditions. These include:
- Heart attack and heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
How to check visceral fat levels?
To know the visceral fat levels precisely, the best way is to take measurements using MRI or CT scan. These measurements typically give results on a scale of 1-59, where the standard of healthy visceral fat is under 13. Unfortunately, this way of measuring has its drawbacks, which tend to be expensive and more time-consuming.
Another way of measuring that can be easily done at home is by measuring the waist circumference. In men, waist circumference exceeding 102 cm (or 88 cm in women) can be an indication of visceral fat accumulation as well as an increase in various health risks.
In addition, you can also use waist-to-hip ratio calculation. You are considered more at risk if the result of the calculation of waist circumference divided by hip circumference exceeds 0.95 for men (or 0.85 in women).
Visceral fat Vs subcutaneous fat
In our stomach, the outer part of the fat is subcutaneous fat, there is a new so-called abdominal muscles and under the abdominal muscles there is visceral fat, our body needs subcutaneous fat. As you know, fat is stored in our body due to the consumption of food.
But if you eat too much or too often, your body begins to store fat no longer layered with subcutaneous, but directly near the internal organs. Excess visceral fat clogs the blood flow and lymph to the internal organs. Lung ventilation deteriorates and oxygen in the body becomes unbalanced, which causes difficulty breathing to sleep.