The fat you can pinch is subcutaneous fat (the one that lies just beneath the skin). The fat inside your belly (the visceral fat) can be seen and measured, but not pinched. Fat accumulated in the lower body (as in the ‘pear shape’ body) is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area (as in the ‘apple shape’ body) is largely visceral. According to Harvard Health, 10 percent of a person’s total body fat will be visceral fat. Where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones. Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.
Research shows that even if your weight and body fat remains constant, as you get older the distribution of fat changes and is more likely to shift to the abdominal area.
A useful way to determine how much visceral fat a person is carrying is by measuring the size of their waist. A woman whose waist measures 35 inches or more and a man whose waist measures 40 inches or more, is likely to have excess visceral fat.
This measures a person’s visceral fat on a scale between 1 and 59. Visceral fat levels should be under 12 on this scale. Anything above 12 on this scale means that a person will need to think about making immediate changes to their diet and lifestyle.
|Indicate you have a healthy level of visceral fat.
Continue monitoring your rating to ensure it stays within the range
|Indicate you have an excess level of visceral fat.
Consider making changes in your diet and/or increase the amount of exercise you do.
This leads to excess weight and fat accumulation in the body.
This can also play a role in storing excess visceral fat. This is because when someone is stressed, their body releases a hormone called cortisol, which increases how much visceral fat a person’s body stores.
High intake of junk/processed foods also leads to the accumulation of fat.
Several studies have shown that drinking too much alcohol may encourage fat to be stored as visceral fat
One 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 is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
Health risks of carrying excess visceral fat include: