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Visceral fat is fat that wraps around your abdominal organs deep inside your body. It is not always associated with being overweight. The Mayo Clinic says: “The trouble with belly fat is that it’s not limited to the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs.”
The organisation says if you eat too much and exercise too little, you’re likely to pack on excess pounds, including belly fat.
It adds: “Your genes also can contribute to your chances of being overweight or obese, as well as play a role in where you store fat.
“However, balancing the calories you consume with activity can help prevent weight gain, despite your age and genetics.”
It adds: “Losing belly fat takes effort and patience. To lose excess fat and keep it from coming back, aim for slow and steady weight loss. Consult your doctor for help getting started and staying on track.”
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Studies have shown that you can help trim visceral fat or prevent its growth with both aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) and strength training (exercising with weights).
According to Harvard Health, spot exercises, such as sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles but won’t get at visceral fat.
“Exercise can also help keep fat from coming back,” adds the health body.
The NHS states: “The best way to lose weight if you’re obese is through a combination of diet and exercise, and, in some cases, medicines. See a GP for help and advice.”
Nuffield Health notes that body mass index (BMI), while still useful, has come under increasing scrutiny for not being a full representation of body composition or health.
Indeed, the NHS notes: “Your BMI can tell you if you’re carrying too much weight, but it cannot tell if you’re carrying too much fat.”
The Mayo Clinic says: “Research also associates belly fat with an increased risk of premature death — regardless of overall weight.“
In fact, some studies have found that even when women were considered a normal weight based on standard body mass index (BMI) measurements, a large waistline increased the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease.”It suggests: “Focus on plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and choose lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy products.
“Limit added sugar and saturated fat, which is found in meat and high-fat dairy products, such as cheese and butter.
“Choose moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — found in fish, nuts and certain vegetable oils — instead.”
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