Belly fat is more than just a superficial concern. It is also a significant risk factor for serious health sproblems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Not all fat is the same subcutaneous belly fat is the most visible type of fat, located just under the skin. Everyone has some belly fat, but large quantities of this subcutaneous fat can signal a weight problem.
Pills, surgeries, miracle cures, and herbal remedies will not safely remove belly fat. It is, however, possible to get rid of belly fat naturally with a healthy combination of diet and exercise.
Fast facts on belly fat:
- Belly fat tends to increase with age, particularly for women.
- Having a high Body Mass Index (BMI) often correlates with more belly fat.
- Visceral belly fat is highly responsive to diet.
- Exercise is a key factor in eliminating belly fat.
What is visceral belly fat?
Combining exercise with a healthy diet may help to remove belly fat.
Visceral fat—sometimes called “active” fat because of its active role in producing various hormones—is the harmful type of belly fat.
It is less visible than subcutaneous fat because it lies within the abdominal wall. It surrounds organs, and releases hormones that can lead to diabetes, chronic inflammation, and other serious health problems.
Visceral fat is not visible, but a slowly expanding waistline is a good indication of visceral fat. As visceral fat grows, so too does the belly.
Some people find that visceral fat makes the stomach feel hard, while subcutaneous fat tends to feel soft and squishy.
Why belly fat is dangerous
A higher BMI can mean a greater risk for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndromes, such as diabetes. For people who have active lifestyles and healthy body weights, subcutaneous fat—even if the belly protrudes a little—is not dangerous.
Some research even suggests that surgery to remove subcutaneous fat will not improve health, and may even be a risk factor for more visceral fat—particularly if surgery is not accompanied by healthful lifestyle changes.
Visceral fat, however, is very dangerous. It releases hormones that can cause diabetes and inflammation. Inflammation is a risk factor for a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In women, visceral fat may increase the likelihood of needing gallbladder surgery. Visceral fat is also linked to breast cancer. Fiber from fruit and vegetables may help regulate blood sugar.
Anyone can develop belly fat at any age, but some groups are at a greater risk of developing visceral fat. Those groups include:
- white men
- African-American women
- Asian Indian men and women
- people who are overweight or obese
- People who drink lots of sugar.
Medical News Today