Taste and Train

The dangers of belly fat

Posted: May 19, 2016
Belly Fat

Fat is stored in two places in our bodies:

1) Subcutaneously (beneath the skin), and
2) Viscerally (deep inside the body).

When health professionals talk about visceral fat they are mainly referring to belly fat, the excess body fat stored in the abdominal cavity and surrounding major organs such as liver, kidneys and pancreas. Subcutaneous fat on the other hand accumulates in areas such as the back of the arms, love handles, buttocks and thighs.

Many people consider belly fat to be relatively harmless, something that they merely want to lose for aesthetic reasons. However, belly fat is far more dangerous. Study after study has shown that normal weight people who carry extra weight around their waistlines are at a much higher risk for high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other modern day diseases.

Fat cells do a lot more than store extra calories; they result in an inflammatory response that disrupts our body’s hormonal function. These are the same hormones that regulate appetite, weight, mood and brain function.

How visceral fat develops

The key factor regulating our appetite and weight is our blood sugar level, which is mainly controlled by the hormone insulin. After every meal as our body starts to digest food, it breaks sugars and starches into simpler molecules called glucose and fructose. When these simpler molecules enter the blood stream they trigger the release of insulin by the pancreas. Insulin takes the glucose out of the blood stream and into our cells to provide energy. When our cells already have ample stores of glycogen, any extra glucose from the blood stream is stored as fat. Fat storage is much faster when our diets are high in processed refined carbohydrates and sugary foods.

And finally… what can you do to reduce it?

Storage of visceral fat is mainly influenced by diet and exercise. Reducing the intake of processed refined carbs like white bread and rice along with high sugar foods is definitely a good place to start. Instead fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. Additionally incorporating regular exercise into your daily life will boost metabolism and hence help reduce body fat. And lastly reducing stress levels and getting at least 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis will also help in optimizing your body functions.

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