Learning More About Visceral Fat

The Visceral Fat Conundrum

In the quest for a healthy body, we often focus on shedding excess weight. However, not all fat is created equal.

There's a silent danger lurking within our bodies that demands our attention - visceral fat.

This deep-seated fat, stored around our vital organs in the abdomen, poses a greater risk to our health than the fat we can pinch on our skin, known as subcutaneous fat.

In this article, we'll delve into the world of visceral fat, exploring its unique characteristics and shedding light on its harmful effects.

We'll also provide insights into measuring visceral fat, lifestyle modifications to reduce it, and even introduce a promising technology that has shown efficacy in combating this hidden menace.

What Sets Visceral Fat Apart?

Visceral fat and subcutaneous fat may both fall under the category of adipose tissue, but their disparities go beyond mere location. Visceral fat, nestled deep within the abdomen, surrounds our vital organs, while subcutaneous fat resides just beneath our skin.

What sets visceral fat apart is its metabolic activity, releasing an onslaught of harmful chemicals and hormones into our bodies. These bioactive substances can significantly increase the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Picture excess visceral fat as a ticking time bomb waiting to wreak havoc on our well-being.

Figure 1: Subcutaneous Fat vs Visceral Fat

Image credit: makeyourbodywork.com

Unveiling the Chemical Composition of Visceral Fat

To understand the perils of visceral fat, we must dive deeper into its chemical composition. Visceral fat results in a higher proportion of free fatty acids compared to subcutaneous fat.

Unlike stored fat within cells, free fatty acids roam freely in the bloodstream, exerting a host of detrimental effects on our bodies.

Additionally, visceral fat is more likely to contain inflammatory cells, which further fuels the fire of inflammation—a destructive process that damages cells and tissues, amplifying the risk of chronic diseases.

Measuring Visceral Fat: Peering Into the Abyss

Now that we comprehend the dangers of visceral fat, it becomes crucial to assess its presence accurately. Thankfully, there are several methods available for measuring this insidious fat.

Methods of assessing visceral fat that we commonly use include DEXA scans and mfBIA scans. These are specialised body composition analysis methods that gauge fat distribution across different regions of the body.

Alternatively, one can rely on a simple waist circumference measurement, wherein a waist size exceeding 102cm for men and 88cm for women becomes a red flag signaling elevated levels of visceral fat.

Unraveling Body Composition: The Role of mfBIA Scans

Among the array of techniques for assessing body composition, multi-frequency bioelectrical impedance analysis (mfBIA) stands out as a non-invasive, simple and accurate option.

By administering a mild electrical current through the body, mfBIA measures the resistance encountered. This resistance provides valuable insights into the proportions of fat, muscle, and water within the body.

Think of mfBIA scans as a sophisticated way of peering beneath the surface, painting a comprehensive picture of your body's composition. These scans do not result in radiation exposure (as would occur with DEXA), no specialist referral is required, and these scans can be performed on a regular basis to track progress to lifestyle changes.

Where To Find Visceral Fat on Your Body Scan Report

When examining your body scan report, you will encounter several assessments related to visceral fat. One crucial measurement is the Visceral Fat Mass, which is indicated in kilograms, and also as a percentage (this is #8 on your body scan report). This type of fat resides within the abdominal cavity, hidden from the naked eye. Carrying excessive amounts of visceral fat has been strongly linked to insulin resistance, a condition that can give rise to glucose intolerance and eventually, type 2 diabetes.

Another significant indicator you'll find on your report is the Visceral Fat Area (this is #8 on your body scan report), expressed in square centimetres (cm²). For men, the optimal range falls between 50 and 100 cm², while for women, it ranges from 40 to 80 cm². Monitoring changes in the visceral fat area can help identify even subtle reductions, serving as a valuable marker for progress.

By acquainting yourself with these visceral fat assessments on your body scan report, you gain valuable insights into your body composition and potential health risks. Armed with this knowledge, you can embark on a targeted journey to address and minimise visceral fat, promoting improved overall well-being and reducing the risk of associated complications.

Figure 2: Where To Find Visceral Fat On Your Body Scan Report

Embarking on the Journey to Reduce Visceral Fat

Armed with the knowledge of visceral fat's hazards, we can now explore effective strategies for its reduction.

The most impactful approach involves weight loss, achievable through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.

However, lifestyle modifications play a pivotal role in addressing visceral fat as well.

Prioritising sufficient sleep, managing stress levels, optimising your environment for health, and bidding farewell to smoking all contribute to its reduction. Remember, tackling visceral fat necessitates a holistic approach that encompasses every aspect of our lives.

The Influence of Alcohol and Sugar on Visceral Fat

In our battle against visceral fat, understanding the impact of alcohol and sugar becomes paramount.

Alcohol, being a high-calorie beverage, can contribute to weight gain, raising the risk of visceral fat accumulation. Research indicates that individuals who consume alcohol regularly exhibit higher levels of visceral fat compared to non-drinkers.

Similarly, sugar, a nutrient metabolised differently from others, poses a significant risk in relation to visceral fat. Studies demonstrate that diets high in sugar correlate with elevated levels of visceral fat.

By curbing our alcohol intake and reducing sugar consumption, we can take crucial steps toward managing the level of visceral fat in the body.

Time Restricted Eating: Harnessing the Power of Timing

One dietary pattern that has garnered attention in recent years is time-restricted eating (TRE).

This practice involves restricting food intake to a specific window of time each day, effectively creating a fasting period.

For instance, one may choose to consume all meals and snacks between 8 am and 4 pm, thus embracing a 12-hour fasting window. Or consuming food between 10am and 6pm only for an 8 hour eating window. There are many different ways to implement TRE.

There are a multitude of potential benefits that can come from TRE, including weight loss, reduced visceral fat, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and potentially increased lifespan. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before embarking on a TRE regimen to ensure it aligns with individual needs.

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The Promise of HI-EMT: A Technological Marvel

In the pursuit of combating visceral fat, scientists have delved into the realm of technological advancements, unearthing a remarkable innovation known as High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic Technology (HI-EMT). This groundbreaking non-invasive treatment harnesses the power of electromagnetic energy to induce vigorous muscle contractions, leading to simultaneous muscle growth and fat loss.

HI-EMT operates by triggering supramaximal muscle contractions through high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy, which elicits a lipolytic (fat-destroying) response in the surrounding adipose tissue. The treatment's effects extend beyond subcutaneous fat, as it significantly impacts muscle metabolism, effectively promoting fat reduction and muscle strengthening.

State-of-the-art imaging techniques, such as CT, MRI, and ultrasound evaluations, have substantiated the transformative capabilities of HI-EMT, showcasing its ability to simultaneously enhance muscle mass while diminishing fat stores.

A noteworthy study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (Kent & Kinney 2021) shed light on the impressive potential of HI-EMT. In this investigation, researchers employed computed tomography (CT) scans to analyse the effects of high-intensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) treatment on visceral adipose tissue (VAT). The study involved 22 participants who received eight HIFEM treatments over the course of several weeks. The results were remarkable, with a uniform reduction in the cross-sectional area (CSA) of abdominal VAT by an impressive 14.3%.

The positive outcomes observed in studies like this highlight the transformative impact of HI-EMT on visceral fat reduction. Not only does this revolutionary treatment target and eliminate excess fat deposits, but it also stimulates muscle growth, resulting in a comprehensive body transformation. HI-EMT is just one of the services offered at DEXA Melbourne to help clients achieve their health and body composition outcomes. By embracing the marvel of HI-EMT, individuals can embark on a journey to conquer visceral fat and embrace a healthier, more sculpted physique.

Navigating the Path to Health

Visceral fat may lurk beneath the surface, hidden from view, but its dangers are all too real.

To safeguard our well-being, we must tackle this silent threat head-on. By embracing weight loss through healthy eating and regular exercise, adopting crucial lifestyle modifications, and employing innovative technologies like HI-EMT, we can combat visceral fat effectively.

Remember, if you have concerns about your visceral fat levels, consult with your doctor or our healthcare professionals, who will help guide you on developing a comprehensive plan to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Let us embark on this journey toward a healthier future, leaving behind the perils of visceral fat in our wake.

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