Fatty tissue is a normal part of our body composition. Our perceptions about fat are formed through our interactions with family, peers and the media. Fat is not the enemy. Our goal is to manage excess fat and make sure it is appropriately distributed.
The fat between our skin and our bones and muscles is called subcutaneous fat. It may be unsightly; It may cause embarrassment, but it is not dangerous.
The fat within our abdominal cavity is called visceral fat. It is the fat that surrounds our organs, (liver and stomach and intestines). An excess of visceral fat is associated with chronic disease and the acceleration of aging.
An excess of Visceral Fat is associated with a variety of chronic health conditions:
Cardiovascular Disease: High Blood Pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, Elevated Blood Fats
Cerebrovascular Disease: Stroke and Vascular Dementia
Metabolic disease: Pre-Diabetes, Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
Visceral Fat and Aging
‘Visceral Fat accumulation is a hallmark of aging.'
Studies in animals have shown that there is no relationship to the metabolic changes associated with aging and subcutaneous fat. There is a direct relationship with visceral fat. The adverse effects of visceral fat on aging can be reversed with the reduction of visceral fat.
Visceral Fat accumulation increases adipokines, (inflammatory messenger molecules), and free fatty acids. This leads to insulin resistance, and this leads to chronic diseases.
How do we measure Visceral Fat?
The best way to measure Visceral Fat is with MRI which can be very expensive. In our office, we use Impedance Body Composition analysis. Our equipment uses a scale from 0-20 for Visceral Fat.
The first goal is less than 10. The optimum goal is less than 5.
How do we reduce Visceral Fat?
Calorie Restriction will help with Visceral Fat Reduction. These are some examples that can be considered.
Reduction of total daily calories on an ongoing basis
Time-limited eating; no eating for 12 hours per day
The Five/Two Diet; moderate calorie restriction (500-700 calories per day), for one or two days per week with maintenance calorie intake on the other days.
Fasting Mimicking Diet; monthly or every other month until Visceral Fat comes into the desirable range.
Regular moderate exercise such as walking for 30 minutes five days per week, cycling, strength training, and gardening are all useful in reducing total fat and visceral fat. The key to success is consistency.
Make up your mind to optimize your health. Take small steps, be consistent and don't beat yourself up for small relapses.