Visceral fat is sometimes also call intra-abdominal fat. This is because visceral fat is found between your organs in the midsection. The activity level of the cells of visceral fat is what experts like Tim Church, the medical director of The Cooper Institute in Dallas, believe cause your body to be at a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. And according to Anne McTiernan, lead researcher of a study at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, visceral fat is likely to be the fat you will lose first through diet and exercise. McTiernan recommends aiming for 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking five days per week, but suspects that 60 minutes of physical activity would be more beneficial in reducing belly fat.
Your lower belly may be pouching out because of under-developed abdominal muscles. Your transverse abdominis, a deep abdominal muscle that wraps around the torso, helps stabilizes your back and also pulls your waistline in, making you look smaller and your stomach flatter. This muscle effectively acts as a corset pulling you in. Standard ab exercises like sit-ups and crunches aren’t going to cut it because they mostly target the upper abs. Working your lower abs and deep abdominal muscles will pull you in and slim you down, as well as tone and define your lower belly area. Here are 10 amazing exercises that target the lower abs.
Excess visceral fat is possibly more harmful because of its proximity to 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. In the liver, they help produce blood lipids, leading to an increase in metabolic disturbances and risk factors.4
Research published in the Journal of Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases concluded that following the Mediterranean diet could help to mitigate the harmful effects of belly fat on your heart. Better yet, it boosts the number of healthy bacteria in your gut – a study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition saw levels rise by up to seven per cent, compared with a western diet.
Unless you hit the genetic jackpot, the chances are that your tummy isn’t immune to showing its fat gains. Something interesting is that there are different kinds of belly fat, and they all require different techniques for shedding it. Belly fat isn’t merely an issue of appearance. Sure, it looks and feels nice to have a shredded tummy, but more important are the health implications.