dexa scan for body weight composition and visceral fat scans in Okanagan valley

Visceral Fat: What Is It And Why You Need To Lose It

No matter what your body shape, excess fat isn't good for your health.

Each year brings new evidence that the fat lying deep within the abdomen – also known as visceral fat – is more hazardous than subcutaneous fat ( the fat you can pinch with your fingers).

Visceral fat is stored in a person’s abdominal cavity and is also known as ‘active fat’ as it influences how hormones function in the body. An excess of visceral fat can, therefore, have potentially dangerous consequences.

Why Is Visceral Abdominal Fat Harmful?

Although visceral fat makes up only a small proportion (around 10%) of body fat, it is a key player in a variety of health problems. It’s because visceral fat surrounds and puts pressure on your internal organs such as your heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, and pancreas. The higher the amount of visceral fat a person stores, the more at risk they are for certain health complications.

Research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active. We can think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect our health. Although scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of these hormones.

Scientists are also learning that visceral fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. These and other biochemicals are thought to have damaging effects on cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

Another reason excess visceral fat is so harmful could be its location near the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestinal area to the liver. Substances released by visceral fat, including free fatty acids, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can influence the production of blood lipids. Visceral fat has been directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

How to Lose of Visceral Belly Fat

Visceral fat is mostly caused by a bad diet and lack of exercise. Therefore, the best way to lose visceral fat is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Some ways to reduce visceral belly fat include:

Exercise: You should try to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. This can include cardio or strength training. A popular workout is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT offers resistance and aerobic training, which can help you burn fat faster.

Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet includes lean proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables. Try to limit trans fats, refined sugars, sodium and processed foods. Low-carb diets such as the ketogenic (keto) diet can help reduce visceral fat by training your body to burn fat as fuel rather than carbs.

Intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting is a weight loss strategy that involves going through periods of eating and not eating. It may help reduce your levels of visceral fat.

Good sleep hygiene: Get a good night’s sleep. Not getting enough sleep may increase your risk of additional visceral fat. You should try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night.

Reduce your stress: Stress activates a hormone in your body called cortisol. More cortisol activates your body’s “fight-or-flight” response, which triggers the storage of more visceral fat.

Limit your alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol may increase the amount of visceral fat your body stores.

How DEXA Scan Can Help

In order to tackle visceral fat, it is important to first get an accurate picture of your body fat composition. If you’re wondering how to localize and measure body fat, a DEXA scan is the most accurate way to do so.

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan was developed originally to examine bone mineral density, but it has been used to effectively characterize lean and fat volume.

DEXA scans use low-dose X-rays at two different energy levels to differentiate between bone mass, fat mass, and lean muscle mass. This allows for a detailed analysis of the distribution of these different tissues throughout the body, including the precise percentage of visceral body fat.

Unlike online BMR calculators that don’t take body composition into account, a DEXA scan for body fat sets you up for long-term visceral fat loss success via a precise estimation of your metabolic rate.

Dexacan offers multiple body composition plans for you to choose from. Call 778-760-2161 now or request an appointment online to learn how DEXA scan can help you get rid of stubborn visceral belly fat and achieve a healthier long-term weight loss.