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A Toxic Fat Hides In Your Body Pumping Poison: Only One Way To Get Rid of It

Visceral fat also known as organ fat is located is located between the organs and contributes to belly fat. Experts warn that visceral fat shows strong links to insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease and other metabolic problems. Visceral fat is also highly active and constantly pumping poisons into the bloodstream. So how do we get rid of it?

What is interesting about the process of weight management; there appears to be a scarcity of information on the differences between subcutaneous fat and visceral fat-and the tenuous relationship with the dieter's goals.

While subcutaneous fat can be measured using body fat calipers, which provide a rough estimate of total body adiposity, visceral fat is measured by volume rather than thickness or weight.

Diet and lifestyle changes are the only way to get rid of both.

Visceral fat is the internal fatty tissue that wraps itself around the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas, and streaks through muscles. Scientists don't know exactly what causes people to lay down visceral fat, although it has been linked to a high-fat diet. But they do know it behaves differently from the largely benign fat that lies just below the skin (the sort you can pinch between your fingers).

Visceral fat is dangerously toxic. As Dr David Haslam, clinical director of the National Obesity Forum, explains: 'Visceral fat may seem to be an inert lump of lard, but it's actually highly active and constantly pumping poisons into the bloodstream.'

Visceral fat is known to cause inflammation in the colon and the artery walls, and is a major cause of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Research even suggests that visceral fat affects mood by increasing production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and reducing levels of feel-good endorphins. So, along with killing you, visceral fat, it seems, can make you feel low.

David Smith was one of 25 obese men and women involved in a pioneering study on this type of fat. They were scanned using ultra-sensitive 3D MRI before and after a three-month programme, which involved exercise and a low-fat diet.

The aim was to pick up even the tiniest changes that might occur in visceral fat levels.

What surprised researchers was that the rate that visceral fat is shed is significantly greater than for overall body weight. On average, the dieters lost 5.6 percent of their body weight - but a massive 10.6 percent of their visceral fat. 

Some achieved even more impressive results: George Eastcote, 52, shed about 13 percent of his body weight (15kg) but nearly 34 percent of his visceral fat - more than three litres in total. It's his 'before' and 'after' scans we have printed on this page.

'....while the subcutaneous fat...the stuff you can pinch - remains largely unchanged, there's been a significant loss of visceral fat around the gut, kidneys and liver and right down to the pelvis,' says Dr Haslam.

The other astonishing finding was that it takes such a short time for visceral fat to be reduced by simple diet and lifestyle changes.

'We had no idea at the beginning the impact just three months of dieting would have,' says Dr Rexford Newbould of the GlaxoSmithKline's Clinical Imaging Centre at Hammersmith Hospital.

'We were very surprised at the extent of the visceral fat loss.' 'This study is very good news for everyone who wants to lose weight for health reasons,' adds Dr Haslam. 'It confirms what previous studies suggested: that visceral fat starts disappearing as soon as you go on a diet or start physical activity.

'Blood tests show that within half an hour of starting exercise, there are already metabolic changes to visceral fat - even though it takes longer for these changes to be picked up on an MRI scan.'

Why does visceral fat disappear so quickly? It is because it's intended to be stored as energy, 'rather like a squirrel hiding nuts'. says Dr Haslam.

'So when the body reduces calorie intake and increases calorie output, this fat begins to be digested. Over several weeks, it appears that any type of weight-loss regime will have a significant impact on visceral fat.'

And this can have a dramatic effect on your health.

March 19, 2010

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