There are two different types of belly fat – visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.
Your visceral fat has something to do with the organs in your abdomen while subcutaneous fat rests beneath your skin.
Of the two, visceral fat is far much dangerous because it can predispose you to diseases such as diabetes type 2, heart diseases, insulin resistance, and certain dyslipidemias.
Why visceral fat is worse than subcutaneous fat
Usually, excess energy in the body is stored as fat in the adipose tissue. Besides storage, fat cells produce chemicals that mediate inflammation and fatty acids.
When these chemicals are produced by the visceral fat, they find their way to the liver through the portal vein. The portal vein is the blood vessel that transports end products of digestion from the stomach and intestines to the liver.
When fat reaches the liver, it gets deposited there leading to a condition called steatosis or fatty liver. Fat deposits can also lead to insulin resistance.
Heart diseases are majorly caused by the deposition of fats in the walls of blood vessels. These deposits called atheromatous plaques lead to a condition called atherosclerosis. These plaques can block blood supply to certain tissues in the body, leading to the death of those tissues.
The condition is more dangerous if the blocked vessels supply the heart since it can lead to heart attack, heart failure, and even death.
Subcutaneous fat is not very dangerous due to its proximity to the liver. It also produces leptin and adiponectin, which are hormones regulating energy balance in the body.
How to find out if you have too much visceral fat
The surest way to find out is to measure your total body fat percentage. A simpler way to do this is by measuring your waistline.
The procedure is simple. Wrap a tape measure around your waist approximately at the level of your navel. Measurements above 35 inches are higher for women, while those above 40 inches in men are equally high.
The best thing to do after realizing that you have too much visceral fat is planning how to reduce visceral fat naturally. Monitor your progress from the comfort of your home using a bathroom scale.
How to lose visceral fat
Performing more anaerobic exercise
Also known as cardio, aerobic exercise helps in losing visceral fat by burning excess calories. Studies have shown that anaerobic exercise can reduce your body fat even without dieting.
However, the overall result is great if you combine it with proper diet. Walking, jogging, and running are effective ways to start off the process of losing fat.
Cut down on the alcohol
Alcohol encourages the accumulation of visceral fat. Although the link between alcohol and visceral fat has not been comprehensively studied, the available information sufficiently proves the role of alcohol in building up visceral fat.
Try subjecting yourself to intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting refers to the process of alternating between fasting and eating. It is different from dieting in that it doesn’t restrict you from eating any kinds of food. It only regulates how frequently you can eat.
Intermittent fasting can help you lose about 4% to 7% of visceral fat within 6 to 24 weeks.
Get expert advice on how to use probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria that can exist in your body without causing harm. The major role of probiotics in fat metabolism is to prevent intestinal absorption of fat.
However, you need the advice of an expert because certain probiotics can actually make you gain weight.
The genus most studied is Lactobacillus.
Lactobacillus gasseri can help lose as much as 9% of visceral fat while Lactobacillus acidophilus encourages gaining of more fat.
Try a diet low in carbohydrates
Low carbohydrate diet is more effective in losing visceral fat than a low-fat diet. This has been intensively studied in obese patients under ketogenic diets. A ketogenic diet increases the metabolism of fat by reducing the intake of carbohydrates.
You can efficiently target and lose visceral fat by sleeping longer, exercising harder, managing your diet, and limiting stress. Ultimately, the success of your endeavor depends on how healthy your mind is.
Interval training is better than training at a constant pace when trying to lose visceral fat. Additionally, it is advisable to exercise early in the morning and not before taking any carbohydrates.
Exercising after taking carbohydrates makes the body metabolize the consumed carbohydrates without burning the excess fat stored in the viscera.