Visceral fat is a health problem many people don’t know about, possibly because it can be impossible to see. Visceral fat is located deep within your abdomen and it’s wrapped around your vital organs–most people have it, even if you’re thin. “You might be surprised to learn what calories are being stored in this ‘hidden’ area. Visceral body fat, also known as visceral or internal abdominal adipose tissue (IAAT), stores energy rather than burning it off through activity as other fats do,” Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies tells Eat This, Not That! Health. Visceral fat can cause severe health issues like breast cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes and more, so managing it is imperative to staying healthy. ETNT Health spoke with Dr. Mitchell who explained the best and worst ways to lose visceral fat and how to help prevent it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
According to Dr. Mitchell, “Visceral fat is the hardest to lose and most dangerous type of body fat. It’s also known as “hidden” or deep-seated abdominal fatty tissue that surrounds our organs like the liver or intestines, with higher risk factors for heart disease than other forms. Visceral Fat cells produce more inflammatory chemicals when they’re stressed out – so if you want your healthiest life possible, then it pays off in more ways than one, not just physically but mentally too!”
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Dr. Mitchell says, “The body stores fat when too many calories and insufficient physical activity. Some people store it around their belly because of how genetics work in specific populations- like women who experience changes after menopause or individuals who drink too much alcohol. In the example of women who experience changes after menopause, this is an oversimplification and not accurate for all individuals. Hence, it’s essential to talk to your doctor about your unique risk factors.”
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“Waist size is an easy way to get a rough estimate,” Dr. Mitchell states. “Wrap the tape measure around your midsection over any protruding area, then compare numbers with those listed below: For women, it’s 35 inches or more, which indicates visceral fat while men must have 40-inch waists at least; warning, there are ethic variations to these numbers. BMI: Body Mass Index works pretty much as weight measurements do; however, it’s not just about how much you weigh but also where those pounds fall within our body composition equation. People with higher BMIs are typically at riskier health risks due to individual lifestyle choices such as poor diet. Remember, the BMI isn’t always accurate, and it should serve as a guideline. Therefore, it is best to consult with your physician to evaluate your risk factors.”
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Dr. Mitchell explains, “Living the stereotypical college student lifestyle will likely not help you lose visceral fat. Below are a few examples of things you shouldn’t do if you are trying to lose visceral fat:
1) Making a habit of eating late at night.
2) Pulling all-nighters and staying up late.
3) Drinking heavily.
4) Drinking sugar-loaded, calorie-dense, energy drinks.
5) Eating a bunch of simple carbs and heavily processed meals.”
Dr. Mitchell says, “Here are a few suggestions to help you lose visceral fat:
- “Exercising for at least 30 minutes every day (for example, brisk walking, cycling, or strength training).
- You should eat healthy food.
- Do not smoke cigarettes.
- Getting enough sleep is also vital since it helps your body produce hormones that regulate metabolism.
Instead of focusing on losing visceral fat, try making healthy lifestyles part of your routine. Keep movement an essential aspect in life by exercising regularly and eating a rainbow every day with plenty of fruit and vegetables for energy! I also like to encourage my patients about mental health & wellness so they can take care not just of their bodies but minds too; this will help prevent adverse outcomes down the line if we’re mindful now (and maybe even have some fun while doing it!). Make conscious efforts to make your mental health and wellness your priority. Also, be mindful of your personal and occupational risk factors, and work with your care providers to find a strategy to reduce your risk of adverse outcomes.”