Visceral Fat

Most of us are concerned with the amount of fat we carry and how it makes us look.

When we think about fat, we tend to think about our mid-section.

However, there is an ever more important issue when it comes to fat. It’s the kind that you can’t grab, pinch or see. That fat is called “Visceral Fat”.

There are 2 types of fat; subcutaneous fat and Visceral Fat. The latter being attributable to most cardiovascular diseases.

Subcutaneous Fat

Subcutaneous fat is the fat that is right under the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). This is fat that 99% of people fixate about. The layer preventing you from seeing them “Hawt Abz”.  In other words, any fat that you can grab on your body is Subcutaneous fat.

Now I’m writing this article to shed light on visceral fat. The most dangerous kind of fat that is possibly the cause of many health risks relating to being overweight.

Visceral Fat

Visceral fat is found deep in the abdomen and surrounding your internal organs. Ever heard of a “fatty liver”? That is the liver infiltrated by visceral fat.  The liver metabolizes visceral fat and releases it into the bloodstream as cholesterol. Harmful, or “bad” cholesterol, which is Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), builds up into a plaque that blocks the arteries.

Contrary to ones assumption of fat simply being a bag of lard, fat is actually a living body. It releases chemicals, toxins and hormones into the blood stream affecting and interfering with many of the body functions.  So the more fat you carry, the more of those harmful toxins are being released into the blood stream and taken up by the body.

Risks Associated with Visceral Fat

This is however more of the case with visceral fat. Visceral fat is known to cause inflammation in the colon and the artery walls, and is a major cause of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Research even suggests that visceral fat affects mood by increasing production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and reducing levels of feel-good endorphins. So, along with slowly killing you, visceral fat, will also affect your mood.

You don’t necessarily need to be overweight to have a large amount of Visceral fat. It has been documented in thin individuals where 7 liters of fat was found in people who were UNDERWEIGHT. So just because you are thin, or not deemed overweight doesn’t mean that you are fat-free 🙂

Ever seen someone who is fairly thin, yet has a protruding stomach, think “beer belly”, that’s visceral fat extending the abdomen.

You may want to know how much visceral fat you have, but in order to do so you need to schedule an MRI scan. The reason being as defined earlier, visceral fat is found deep within you organs, and the only way to see it is with an MRI scan.

Factors Associated with Accumulation of Visceral Fat

Now the exact cause of the accumulation of visceral fat has been a topic of debate among scientists. Most findings though have associated a large amount of visceral fat in relatively sedentary individuals or those who don’t exercise.

If you have one of these, you are at risk of having a large amount of visceral fat


Take sumo wrestlers’ for example. Even though one may initially think that they are unhealthy due to the large amount of “subcutaneous fat” that they carry, studies on those individuals actually showed minimal amounts of visceral fat. That is due to their activity level. Even though they purposely over eat, they tend to be more active than most individuals who don’t exercise.

Another factor is yo-yo dieting. People who’s weight tends to fluctuate often have shown high levels of this dangerous fat. The latter is mainly caused due to the rebound phase after a diet; which usually involves large bouts of overfeeding of processed foods. So if you tend to go through phases of under-eating and overeating, be wary of what may be happening in your body.

Exercise to Lose Visceral Fat

Crash dieting is not the answer.

Even though after reading this you may be tempted to go on a strict diet, studies have shown that calorie restriction alone does not help with reducing visceral fat. It may aid in shedding your subcutaneous fat.  But when it comes to Visceral fat, exercise has been proven to be the most efficient method at reducing visceral fat even without a change in calories. Especially interval training.

‘Blood tests show that within half an hour of starting exercise, there are already metabolic changes to visceral fat – even though it takes longer for these changes to be picked up on an MRI scan.’ 

Visceral fat has been proven to be burnt rather uniformly with exercise. i.e. it is burnt equally by the body compared to subcutaneous fat which is burnt according to your body structure and stores.

Wrap Up

it’s clear how dangerous visceral can be to someone’s health. It’s called the silent killer for a reason. You wont necessarily see it, feel it nor touch it but rest assured it is killing you from the inside out.

Avoid overfeeding in general and especially when assuming a low-activity lifestyle. Move often and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Dont 4get to like and comment 🙂 


5 thoughts on “Visceral Fat

  1. Pingback: Common Training Myths & Misconceptions « The Fitness Grail

  2. An interesting discussion is worth comment. I believe that you should write more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but typically folks don’t talk about such issues. To the next! Kind regards!!

  3. Pingback: Burn Visceral Fat |

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