There are two kinds of belly fat – subcutaneous fat and visceral fat
Subcutaneous fat is located under the skin and visceral fat is stored deeper in the abdominal cavity surrounding important organs like the liver, intestines and pancreas.
Visceral fat is the culprit
Numerous and far-ranging health risks are associated with too much visceral fat.
Visceral fat is unhealthy because it is metabolically active and affects how a number of hormones function.
The health risks of visceral fat:
1. From insulin resistance to type 2 diabetes
Insulin resistance means that your body has to produce more insulin to metabolize sugars. Insulin resistance can lead to glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. It appears that visceral fat secretes a protein known as retinol-binding protein 4 which has been linked to greater insulin resistance.
Heart disease, breast cancer (in both men and women), colorectal cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease are all correlated with higher levels of visceral fat.
Visceral fat generates substances called cytokines that not only increase insulin resistance, but also increase the risk of heart disease. Cytokines cause inflammation which can lead to various types of cancers. Visceral fat has been linked to cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, and colon.
2. Belly fat and heart disease
Too much visceral fat and the substances secreted by it that increase insulin resistance have much further reaching effects. Ultimately, it can result in “metabolic syndrome”, which is associated with problems with the body’s ability to consume and store energy efficiently. Coronary artery disease can be the eventual result, with the heart not receiving blood and oxygen efficiently.
How belly fat is linked to erectile dysfunction
- Excessive visceral fat leads to coronary artery disease, which affects the quality of circulation throughout the body, including to the penis.
- In addition, visceral fat produces an enzyme called aromatase which converts testosterone to estrogen (but not back again) which results in lower testosterone levels.
- Many other conditions also contribute to erectile dysfunction, including diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Visceral fat increases the risk of all these conditions.
How to get rid of visceral fat
A healthier diet and more exercise are effective when done consistently and with commitment. Cutting out sugar-sweetened drinks is also effective. While sugary drinks are only one part of the equation, cutting back on them or eliminating them altogether is one of the easiest ways to cut excess sugar and calories out of your diet.
To get rid of visceral fat, you have to burn more calories than you take in; that means aerobic exercise.