Could your body fat be making you fatter? That just seems unfair, but unfortunately it is exactly what happens. A particular type of fat on your body is actually sending out signals that tells your body to accumulate even more fat.
All Fat is Not Equal
It’s important to understand that all body fat is not the same. One form of fat, subcutaneous fat, is perhaps ugly but it is not really dangerous. When someone uses calipers to measure your level of body fat, they are measuring subcutaneous fat. The fat you “pinch” is subcutaneous fat. This fat is located below the surface of the skin. It might make your butt fat but it is not metabolically dangerous
One particular type of fat on the body, called visceral fat, is actually very active biologically. This visceral fat is constantly producing chemicals and hormones that signal your body to create more fat, as well as do other harmful things to your physical well being..
What is Visceral Fat?
Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds your organs and accumulates around the belly region. People that are “apple” shaped have a particularly large amount of this visceral fat located in the belly region. Visceral fat is metabolically active and is associated with breathing issues, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even heart disease. Many people that have a normal BMI (body mass index) will still have a large percentage of this dangerous visceral fat and remain very much at risk for all of these health complications.
The Dangers of Visceral Fat
Abdominal visceral fat releases chemicals that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These chemicals are called cytokines, and they have a negative effect on your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood clotting, and blood pressure. The chemicals produced by visceral fat can interfere with the body’s hormone system.
The visceral fat also produces substances that can increase total cholesterol and have a negative effect on insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, the blood glucose levels go up and the chance of developing diabetes goes up right along with it.
The visceral fat cells are actively producing hormones that affect your liver, brain, immune system and even your fertility.
Visceral fat is also is related to your risk for dementia. A recent study of middle-aged adults showed that high visceral fat is associated with a shrinking brain.
This fat makes hormones and inflammatory substances. The more abdominal visceral fat that exists, the more pro-inflammatory chemicals are created in the body. This inflammation interferes with the hormones that regulate your mood, your hunger, and your weight. So, the visceral fat is literally creating more fat by producing these inflammatory substances. Fat is creating fat.. An endless cycle of trouble is created.
Getting Rid of Belly Fat
Unfortunately, you can’t just target visceral fat. But, when you reduce your excess body fat, you will also gradually reduce your visceral fat and the negative health consequences associated with it. If you want to get rid of your excess fat, you should target all of the following.
- Immediately end your love affair with sugar. This includes all sugar – refined, unrefined, organic or not. Sugar is dangerous to your health
- Increase your consumption of non-starchy vegetables
- Sharply reduce your consumption of starchy foods and refined carbohydrates. These add to your risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes
- Moderate your consumption of fructose by eating low-sugar fruits such as berries
- Get a good night’s sleep. Turn off the lights in the bedroom. Turn off computer screens at least one hour before going to bed (including your phone). Find a system that relaxes you and lets you get a regular full night’s rest. It is critical for restoring the body and spirit
- Increase your exercise. Regular exercise will help you control your blood sugar and help reduce your insulin resistance.
- Reduce stress. Learning to control your stress response is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Develop a process for alleviating stress. Stress releases cortisol which releases extra glucose into your body. And visceral fat has four times more receptors for cortisol than other cells in your body. So, when you get stressed, you are automatically setting up a trigger system that further increases belly fat. In order to reduce that belly fat, you need to find a way of moderating your stress response. Whether you choose meditation, yoga, prayer, or deep-breathing, find something you enjoy and then do it regularly
- Eat healthy fats to help balance your blood-sugar. Healthy fats will curb your desire to eat carbohydrates, starches and sugar that then trigger the insulin response. Eat wild salmon, coconut oil, olive oil, and grass-fed meats. Healthy fats should be part of everyone’s diet
In order to improve your health, you need to pay attention to your level of visceral fat. Visceral fat is active and dangerous. Reducing your level of visceral fat is not only important for your looks, but critical for your health as well. Focusing on changing the things you can control – diet, exercise, and stress reduction – will have a permanent effect on reducing your visceral fat and improving your health.
If you have any concerns about your level of visceral fat, we strongly suggest you talk to your physician to develop a program for tackling that problem and turning around your health.