Visceral fat is the type of fat which sits around the organs, hidden inside our tummy.
It is essential and it helps protect our organs, so everyone has some fat around the organs, even high level athletes!
The problem is that large amounts of visceral fat can increase our risk to develop serious health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. And because it is hidden inside us, we don’t know if we are at risk.
Maybe you heard the term “skinny fat”. It is when someone is slim to the eye, but actually carries a lot of internal fat. The major contributing factor to storing visceral fat are: a diet high in sugar and fatty processed foods; excessive intake of alcohol: a sedentary lifestyle and also stress.
So What is the best way to measure visceral fat? • The mirror: we might be able to see whether we store more fat mass around the waist, meaning we have higher chances of an increased visceral fat compared to those people who store fat around the hips.
• Measure your waist and hips at home, then divide the waist by the hip measurement. A healthy body should be 1 or less than 1 for males and 0.85 or less than 0.85 for women. • A DEXA scan: it will accurately assess visceral fat as a cm2 measurement, indicating our relative risk of developing chronic disease. This will even reveal if a lean looking person is at risk.
THE VERDICT: home measurements can give us an idea of how visceral fat is, but a DEXA scan is the best way to assess our level of visceral fat and find out if we are at increased risk for chronic disease or not.
Body & Bone