Having fat on your belly may be more detrimental to your health than you think. While many people today have excess abdominal fat, most people are unaware of the real dangers of that spare tire or beer belly. In fact, scientific research has found that belly fat – particularly visceral fat – is a dangerous risk factor to your health. Being overweight is also likely to be detrimental to your immediate health, as you can suffer a lack of energy or self-esteem. Losing belly fat will be beneficial for your short-term and long-term health, self-confidence and sense of wellbeing.
Two types of fat are stored in your abdominal area. The first type of fat, called subcutaneous fat, lies beneath the skin and covers your abdominal muscles. The second type of fat is called visceral fat and this lies deeper within the abdomen, beneath your muscles, surrounding your organs. Visceral fat (which is also called omentum fat) is responsible for the ‘beer belly’, where the abdomen protrudes but the stomach still feels quite firm. Both types of fat are serious health risk factors when they build up on your abdomen. Both types of belly fat increase your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, cancer and other degenerative diseases.
While both types of fat represent health risks, recent scientific research has found that visceral fat is actually more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. This is because it consistently releases inflammatory molecules into your body. These inflammatory chemicals can induce insulin resistance and lead to diabetes. Because visceral fat is so close to the organs, it’s the energy source that your organs will choose to use. Visceral fat is released rapidly and constantly travels to your liver. It is then shipped to your arteries, where it contributes to health risks like high LDL cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease. The more visceral fat you have, the less adiponectin – a stress reducing and anti-inflammatory chemical related to hunger control – your body will produce. An excess of visceral fat will also increase your risk of developing Alzhiemer’s disease, gallstones as well as ovarian, colon and breast cancer. That is why having an apple body shape is more harmful to your health than having a pear shape – the apple body shape contains more abdominal visceral fat.
Reducing belly fat is the best way to reduce the health risks that visceral fat poses. This is one of the most important reasons to lose belly fat, but if you lose belly fat you will also give you increased energy and greater self-esteem. The best way of getting rid of subcutaneous fat and visceral fat is by choosing a healthy diet and increasing exercise. Just a small increase in exercise and a decrease in energy consumed can be beneficial over time, reducing your abdominal fat and leading to better health and reduced risk of disease.