The Many Dangers of Visceral Fat

dangers of visceral fat

In today’s society, burning fat and losing weight has become a trend as obesity, diabetes, and weight-related, dangerous health issues are on the rise. When taking on the challenge of trying to drop a little extra weight, we first need to know what exactly we are dealing with.

Our bodies store two different types of fat: subcutaneous fat, which is stored around our arms, legs and abdomen that typically is stored under our skin, and a more dangerous fat, known as visceral fat.

Visceral fat, also known as active fat, is defined as body fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity and is therefore stored around a number of important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines. According to, research has shown that visceral fat plays a prominent and sometimes dangerous role affecting how our hormones function. The storage of visceral fat also increases the risk of a number of serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes. This has a tendency to secrete a protein called retinol-binding protein 4, which has been shown to induce insulin resistance, which in turn, can cause glucose intolerance.

“How to Burn Visceral Fat,” an article published on, goes on to say that high storage of visceral fat can further lead to: “high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a higher risk for developing heart disease. High visceral fat storage has also been linked to breast cancer, colorectal cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

Because visceral fat is typically stored around our internal organs, an MRI or CT scan is necessary to diagnose this particular type of storage. Both options are quite costly. According to Harvard Health there is an easy way to determine if you have fallen victim to visceral fat. They state that “fat accumulated in the lower body (the pear shape) is subcutaneous fat, while fat in the abdominal area (the apple shape) is largely visceral. Where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones.”

“Is there anything I can do to help burn visceral fat if I suspect I may have it?” You might ask, and yes, actually, according to Harvard health, visceral fat yields easily. There are several things we can do to help burn that fat, for not only a more visually pleasing body, but for a healthy one as well.

Livestrong and Harvard health both agree that working with a dietitian for a healthier and more balanced diet, may be a good place to start.

Harvard Health says to “Pay attention to portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks. Replacing saturated fats and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats can also help.”

Also, it is important to increase the amount and intensity of your exercise. Spending 30 minutes, working your way up to 60 minutes doing cardio, strength training and spot exercising are other satisfying ways to begin quickly burning that unwanted belly fat. Staying motivated and on track, while practicing healthy lifestyle habits, are also important.