Around our midsection, there are two different types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral.
Subcutaneous- It means under the skin. It is the fat that we can see and pinch. But surprisingly, we need to worry less about the subcutaneous fat than about the visceral stuff. It is often described as a “passive” fat because it functions primarily as a storage depot.
Visceral- It means belonging to the soft organs of the abdomen. It is the fat stored deep in our abdomen around the intestines, kidneys, pancreas, and liver. This is what tends to make our bellies stick out in classic “beer belly” fashion. In contrast, visceral fat is considered very “active” because it functions as a gland in itself. It is programmed to break down and release fatty acids and other hormonal substances that are then metabolized directly by the liver. The fatty acids thus produced go directly to the liver and produce an unfavorable metabolic environment.
Although it is located in our abdomen, it can cause all kinds of damage that goes far beyond our belly. No other fat in the body does that.
sex difference –
There are sex-dependent differences in the regional distribution of fat.
• Women genetically have more capacity to store fat than men.
• Men are more susceptible to fat accumulation in the upper part of the body, most likely in the belly, due to differences in sex hormones. Abdominal obesity in men correlates with comparatively low testosterone levels.
• In women, estrogen is thought to cause fat to be stored in the buttocks, thighs, and hips. After menopause in women, the estrogen produced by the ovaries decreases. And the fat migrates from your buttocks, hips, and thighs to your belly.
• Women with higher-than-average testosterone levels, as well as women with certain medical conditions that cause them to have lower estrogen levels, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, are also more likely to develop a pot belly than women with typical levels. of estrogen.
• Comparing the body fat of men and women, men have twice as much closed visceral fat as premenopausal women.
Belly fat measurements
For women, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more is cause for concern. For men, a waist measurement of 40 inches or more could spell trouble.
For men, a WHR (waist-hip ratio) greater than 0.95 and, for women, greater than 0.80 are indicative of central obesity.
Health risks of abdominal fat –
Belly fat is considered a risk for the following conditions:
Cardiovascular disease – The belly is the best indicator of cardiovascular risk. Researchers have found that those who are not overweight but have a bulging abdomen have a 2.75 times greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who are of normal weight and have a proportionate waist.
race- Belly fat speeds up the process of atherosclerosis, which means hardening of the arteries, which increases the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes.
Type 2 diabetes – People with big bellies tend to lose insulin sensitivity, leading to insulin resistance, which often develops into type 2 diabetes.
High blood pressure- Researchers have found that abdominal obesity leads to an increased risk of hypertension.
Dementia- Middle-aged people with a lot of belly fat are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from memory loss and dementia later in life, researchers at Rush University Medical Center found.
Erectile dysfunction – Belly fat actually lowers a man’s testosterone levels, which can lead to erectile dysfunction. It also produces an enzyme called aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen in a one-way pathway.
breast cancer – Researchers note in a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that abdominal fat is associated with prediabetes. Insulin receptors are expressed in most breast cancers and have been shown to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. This suggests that an insulin-related abdominal adiposity pathway is involved in the etiology of premenopausal breast cancer.
Health experts unequivocally proclaim that the belly has some very serious health risks. And still most of us ignore their advice. I don’t understand why it is ignored so much. In fact, abdominal fat works like a gland, releasing fatty acids and hormonal substances that are harmful to our health. Regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and proper stress management will go a long way in reducing belly fat.