The Low Down on Visceral Fat

You may have heard the words ‘visceral fat’ being thrown around over the last couple of weeks.  Especially since the body scans were done and they gave us detailed information about the exact levels of visceral fat that we have in our bodies.

But, what exactly is visceral fat and why is it so bad?

Visceral fat is a type of body fat that’s stored within the abdominal cavity. It’s located near several vital organs, including the liver, stomach, and intestines. It can also build up in the arteries.

The higher the amount of visceral fat a person stores, the more at risk they are for certain health complications, such as:

A woman whose waist measures 88 centimetres or more is likely to have excess visceral fat. This might increase her risk of developing some of the health problems linked to visceral fat. The same is true of a man whose waist measures 100 centimetres or more.

Even if you’re thin, you can still have visceral fat around the abdominal region—being “skinny” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. There’s no sure-fire way to tell visceral fat from subcutaneous fat without getting a body scan done.

When your visceral fat is measured using a body scan, the result will fall somewhere on a scale between 1 and 59.  Visceral fat levels should be under 9 on this scale. Anything above 9 on this scale means that a person will need to think about making immediate changes to their diet and lifestyle. Making these changes will help reduce the person’s visceral fat levels to a healthier number.

What can I do to reduce the level of visceral fat in my body?

  • exercising for at least 30 minutes every day, both aerobic exercise and strength training will help to reduce visceral fat
  • eating a healthy diet, with lots of wholefoods and minimal processed foods.
  • not smoking
  • reducing sugary drinks and alcohol
  • getting enough sleep

 It’s easier said than done, but in order to take care of your physical body, you have to take care of your mental state. Sleep loss and stress can sabotage your health and fitness goals, so learn more about getting a quality night’s rest and use meditation or yoga to calm your mind. Remember, it’s not just about your health; it’s about your happiness, too.