How does visceral fat affect the organs?

Visceral fat is not always visible on the surface of the body, and is linked to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases. Checking the amount of visceral fat can provide valuable information about an individual’s health status and help identify potential health risks.

What are the dangers of excessive accumulation of visceral fat? This condition is belly fat! It can lead to inflammation in the body that lasts for a long time and insulin resistance, which is sometimes called the insulin belly. This is the first step toward heart disease and type 2 diabetes. And these are not the only consequences of excess belly fat. Other potential health risks associated with excessive accumulation of visceral fat include high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, and fatty liver disease. It can also affect hormone levels and increase the risk of infertility and certain cancers. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle to prevent the accumulation of visceral fat and reduce the risk of these health complications.

Visceral fat, also called abdominal or visceral fat , has several distinctive characteristics:

  • accumulates around internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines
  • contains more adipocytes , i.e. fat cells, than subcutaneous fat,
  • is considered more harmful to health than subcutaneous fat,
  • it is more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat, which means that it can affect glucose and lipid metabolism in the body
  • it may be harder to remove through diet and exercise. 

How does visceral fat affect the organs?

Because of their sex hormones, women gain more fat than men. But it is what people call “subcutaneous fat.” Visceral fat, on the other hand, grows around the heart, kidneys, liver, and other organs inside the abdomen. Visceral fat makes them smaller, which makes them less effective. Visceral obesity is often characterized by a hard, tight belly.

Visceral fat contributes to chronic diseases of the lifestyle

Adipose tissue accumulates around the organs and produces harmful substances, such as insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. Excess abdominal fat increases the risk of heart attack and some cancers more strongly than an increased BMI. It also negatively affects fertility and sexual performance. If the body weight is correct, but the waist circumference is too large, this is known as abdominal obesity. Any excess visceral fat is dangerous, no matter what the scale shows.

What promotes the accumulation of visceral fat?

The following contribute to the development of abdominal obesity:

  • no movement,
  • excessive caloric content of the diet,
  • excess sugar and saturated fat in the diet.

But that is not all. In addition to the risks already mentioned, sleep apnea and high cortisol levels, which can be a result of stress, can make it simpler for visceral fat to accumulate. Women are less likely than men to be overweight around the middle, but after menopause, they are much more likely to gain visceral fat.

Healthy visceral fat

The most important details are that abdominal fat should make up no more than 10% of the body’s fat, and that an abdominal ultrasound is the best way to determine if someone has the correct amount. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a symptom of increasing abdominal obesity, and a CT scan can also be performed to determine if the amount of fat is normal, too high, or already present.

How do I check the amount of visceral fat?

  1. Waist circumference measurement .
  2. WHR – the ratio of waist circumference to hip circumference. 
  3. Waist to height ratio . Just divide your height by the size of your waist (expressed in cm). If the answer is 0.5 or less, the amount of visceral fat is right.

How to burn visceral fat?

The best way to do this is to live a healthy life, which means eating right and working out regularly.

How to burn visceral fat:

  • Physical activity . At least 30 minutes of cardio or strength training a day. 
  • Diet . The best is a balanced menu excluding highly processed food, especially simple sugars and trans fats, sweetened carbonated drinks. 
  • Intermittent fasting . Eating meals with at least one long, even several-hour break from eating during the day. 
  • Sleep Hygiene . Night rest and its quality are very important. Therefore, you need to take care of a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep per day.
  • Avoiding alcohol . 

Visceral fat and alcohol

Alcoholic beverages contain congeners, which are responsible for their taste, smell and color. However, they also make it easier for the body to increase visceral fat stores. Research has shown that even moderate alcohol consumption is conducive to increasing abdominal fat, and beer and spirits are more harmful. Red or white wine is less likely to accumulate visceral fat.



4th Professional Medical Student. Karachi Medical and Dental College.

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