Why visceral fat is one of the deadliest enemies to your overall health

Sadly, weight still remains the punchline for many jokes. A short-term laugh at the expense of someone else with no long term gains.

Events like "Most Ordinary Rig / Dad Bod" competitions on national television, we've failed to get hard (literally and figuratively) on Australia's ever-growing danger: visceral fat.

What is visceral fat, and what are its dangers?

Two types of fat

We store two types of fat around our midsection – 90 per cent of it subcutaneous (the type you can pinch) and 10 per cent of it visceral (hard fat). That hard, beer gut is an accumulation of visceral fat and it lies out of reach, surrounding the inner organs.

Visceral fat is dangerous

Fat cells are biologically active, and visceral fat is now known to produce molecules with harmful health effects. Studies examining fat show increased risk of heart disease, rises in blood sugar, dementia, asthma, and breast cancer. People with the most visceral fat have three times the risk of developing colorectal cancer than those with the least.

How to measure visceral fat

In the shower look down. Are you toes missing? Private parts seem like they're hiding? Then you're carrying too much visceral fat. Body Mass Index (BMI), Waist to Hip, and Waist to Height ratios are also useful measures.

Liposuction may worsen it

There are two problems with spending up to $12, 000 on the world's most popular cosmetic procedure: liposuction / liposculpture. First, the procedure only removes subcutaneous fat. Second, research has shown the body has a "snapback" effect after lipo is performed. Without post-surgery exercise, a monitored group gained back fat in the form of visceral fat.

Attacking via the kitchen

There's no magic here. Losing visceral fat and leaning up is about healthy protein, unrefined whole grains, beans, nuts, veggies, fruits while keeping tabs on portion control and putting down processed sugary junk and those sneaky beers and bottles of wine.

Attacking via the gym

A million sit-ups and planks won't cut it."Spot reduction" is a myth, as you can't refurbish a rusted 1980 Ford by only purchasing new rims. Lean up with compound movements that work the entire body – that's calorie burn. Further, increase aerobic activity with rowing, running, spin class, and skipping rope.


Row 300 metres, perform 15 push-ups, 15 sit-ups, 15 squats with a shoulder press, then skip 200 times. That circuit performed three, four, five times with intensity is a visceral fat blaster.


Here's a fact for your next trivia night: 85 per cent of fat (lost) is exhaled through the lungs, and 15 per cent is converted into water then released via sweat or the toilet.

Here's the good news

Though visceral fat is more dangerous, it's easier to lose than subcutaneous via diet and exercise. A small percentage drop in bodyweight produces a substantial drop in visceral fat.

The health and wellness industry sometimes progresses via science and most definitely for revenue purposes. While 2019's flavour on GOOP and yoga pages galore is "gut health" that ole classic visceral fat is clearly still lurking but may be so boring it's long forgotten.

Gut health… visceral fat… You've got a Dad Bod… It's all the same house with a different colour of paint.

The harsh truth is visceral fat is unhealthy. It's potentially killing you. No sugar-coating can change that – just healthier food and movement in the gym.

Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.

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