Life Health Features

Sunday 21 September 2014

Visceral fat lies deep in the body posing more of a danger

Karl Henry

Published 04/08/2014 | 00:00

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Karl Henry

I have read about visceral fat and the dangers of it, I would like to know how to get rid of it?

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Karl replies: Visceral fat is the most dangerous type of fat, as it surrounds our internal organs inside the body. The biggest issue is that we can't see it - it's not that fat that we can pinch, for example, love handles or the soft tissue at the back of the arms. Visceral fat is found deeper inside the body.

Irish people seem to store of this type of fat, especially those who are the stereotypical apple shape. This describes the body shape where the midriff expands, both with visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.

So, why is this a problem? Simple: visceral fat surrounds the internal organs and puts you at a higher risk of pretty much every medical condition we know of. The higher the visceral fat, the higher the risk of illness.

So, you want to know how to measure it? Ideally, a dexa scan would be carried out, but thats hugely expensive, so let's pull it back to basics. By buying a tape measure, for the pricely sum of around €1.90, you will be able to measure both visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.

Where do you measure? You meet the tape at your bellybutton as it serves as a constant reference point, which makes measuring easier and more accurate. The lower the number, the healthier you are and the lower your fat levels.

The current ideal guidelines are 34 inches for women and 37 inches for men, but I believe that these figures are too low - they act as a barrier as people see them as being unattainable.

From medical research, we know that having a waist measurement of around 40 inches and above puts you at the greatest risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders and most other medical conditions. So if you can get it under 40 inches, you are in the healthy zone.

If you measure your waistline, and are taking the necessary steps to reduce your measurement, you are doing really well.

Now, how can you get it down? Well, this involves three components. The first is weekly measurement: by measuring you stay focused.

The second is to eat better:

- Increase your consumption of good fats, such as nuts, seeds and coconut oil

- Reduce the sugar in your diet as much as possible

- Eliminate all white processed carbs

- Increase your green vegetable intake

- Increase your water intake

- Increase your spicy foods

- Increase your intake of acids (lemons/limes etc.).

Food will account for at least 60pc of results - you simply can't out-train a bad diet. The changes above will decrease bloating, improve digestion and increase energy levels, as well as helping to reduce visceral fat.

The third component is exercise. There are two types you need to do: cardiovascular and resistance.

In terms of cardio, you have two options. The first is high intensity interval training (HIIT), which incorporates two speeds: one fast and one slow. You alternate these, pushing the body to max on the hard one. It's a fantastic way to burn body fat, but it can scare people as it is also uncomfortable.

The second way is to exercise at 70pc of your maximum heart rate. This is basically a talk test. Whatever form of cardio you are doing, ensure that you are getting out of breath, but can still hold a conversation. This is a great place to burn fat too and is more comfortable.

The other form of exercise needed to burn fat is resistance exercise. Resistance exercise increases your lean muscle tissue - the more of this you have, the harder your body has to work to keep it there.

Now you know all you need to, so get working, get measuring, and see the benefits of all your hard work!

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