Visceral Fat

What is Visceral Fat and why is it important?

Visceral fat refers to the fat that is within the internal abdominal cavity, surrounding the vital organs in the trunk (abdominal) area. Unlike ‘normal’ fat, visceral fat is stored deeper in the skin, wrapping around your major organs such as the liver, pancreas and kidneys and ensures that there is some distance between each organ. It is normal to have some visceral fat however, too much can lead to certain diseases such as heart disease, inflammation and high blood pressure.
Another issue with having too much visceral fat is its impact on adiponectin or the ‘fat hormone’. Adiponectin’s function is to regulate the amount of body fat you have in your body. Visceral fat, on the other hand, inhibits adiponectin and as a result, causes your body to produce more fat than you need. A high level of visceral fat also influences your insulin sensitivity, which can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes later on in life.

How to measure Visceral Fat?

There are many different ways to measure visceral fat. These include options you can do at home, but also when visiting your GP. 
An easy method you can do at home is to measure the largest parts around your waist and hip. However, please note that this option is not entirely accurate.Once you have measured both your waists and hip, divide the waist by the hip measurement. A healthy body should have less than 1.0 for men or 0.85 for women.
Another good indicator of having a high level of visceral fat is a high BMI score and a large waist. If you have both, chances are likely that you have a high level of visceral fat.
For a more accurate measurement of visceral fat, you can also utilise the Tanita body composition monitor which will provide a rating from 1-59.
Visceral Fat Rating from 1 to 12: 
Indicates you have a healthy level of visceral fat. Continue monitoring your rating to ensure that it stays within the healthy range.
Visceral Fat Rating from 13 to 59: 
Indicates you have an excess level of visceral fat. Consider making changes in your lifestyle, possibly through diet changes and/or increased exercise.

How to reduce your Visceral Fat Rating?

Visceral fat isn’t always visible from the outside, so you don't know it's there until you measure for it. This fact can make visceral fat that much more dangerous. Fortunately, getting on top of your visceral fat levels is doable and manageable. 
You can reduce your visceral fat rating by:
  • Reducing the intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  • Filling up on non-starchy vegetables, fats and proteins.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Getting more potassium in your diet.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Focusing on getting enough sleep.
Maintaining a healthy, active, low-stress lifestyle can prevent visceral fat from building up in excess in the abdominal cavity.