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Is it possible to have a healthy weight and yet have too much fat inside?
Sushi is a 29-year-old Briton, a journalist with the BBC, who is considered medium-sized and generally in good health.
She has a size 12 of clothes and believes that she leads a normal, moderately healthy lifestyle.
He exercises with some frequency in summer, when he runs in the gym, but admits that in winter he likes to “hibernate”.
“I like to think that I am a healthy person on the outside, but the truth is that I do not know what is under my skin,” he said.
A hidden surprise
When Sushi received the test results with esc to ner DEXA , which was made at a private London clinic, a good surprise.
This type of scanner, with a special type of X – rays are commonly used to make d bone ensitometrías , measuring bone density to estimate the risk of osteoporosis.
In this case, it was used to measure the percentage of fat and muscle in Sushi’s body, as well as to analyze its distribution.
“You may feel good and look good on the outside but inside you may have visceral fat, which is an internal fat that is dangerous because it is around the organs and is linked to diseases such as type 2 diabetes.” , said Philip Chant, director of Bodyscan.
According to the traditional reference of weight, the Body Mass Index (BMI), Sushi is slightly overweight.
It is usually considered that a person with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 has a healthy weight.
However, the BMI does not offer information about the amount or distribution of fat that a person has, factors that can have an effect on health.
After analyzing Shushi’s “hidden fat,” Phil told him that his body had ” more than double the visceral fat estimated for a woman his age.”
How much visceral fat is “normal”?
According to information from the Harvard Medical School, in most people 90% of body fat is subcutaneous , the type of fat that is just under the skin.
If you touch your belly that fat that feels soft is also subcutaneous.
The remaining 10% , considered visceral or intra-abdominal , is “hidden” beyond our reach, below the abdominal wall.
It is found in the spaces surrounding the liver, intestines and other organs.
It is also stored in the omentum , which is a kind of curtain of abdominal fat that extends as if it were an apron below the abdominal muscles.
That omentum becomes harder and thicker the more fat it receives.
Although visceral fat only accounts for a small proportion of total body fat, it is a key factor for certain health problems.
Why is visceral fat more dangerous?
According to the public health service of the United Kingdom, (NHS for its acronym in English), there is much scientific evidence that confirms the link between having an excess of visceral fat and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
There is more recent evidence that also links visceral fat to an increased risk of cancer , however it is still unknown what is the exact biological mechanism by which this occurs.
In addition, the accumulation of fat in the liver can cause metabolic alterations such as insulin resistance.
Visceral fat tends to be associated with greater ” central obesity ,” that is, with a larger waist and greater abdominal fat.
According to the NHS, several studies have shown that having more fat around the waist can be more harmful than having it in other areas of the body, such as the legs or hips.
Central or abdominal fat has also been associated with inflammation, an increased risk of diabetes and higher cholesterol levels.
This is why the size of the waist circumference and its proportion to the size of the hip is increasingly used as a health indicator .
Who tends to have more visceral fat?
The composition and distribution of fat varies between the two sexes.
In general terms men are more susceptible to central obesity or abdominal fat, while women tend more to have a peripheral distribution.
Women predominate in lean body mass and subcutaneous fat , while men dominated the mass lean body and visceral fat .
The good news is that visceral fat can be easily reduced with exercise and by making dietary modifications to reduce caloric intake.
Some studies have linked a greater amount of visceral fat and a greater abdominal circumference with the consumption of fried foods, fat, alcohol, red and processed meats, sugary drinks, refined grains and foods of high glycemic index.
From now on Sushi will try to do regular exercise throughout the year and avoid eating between meals to lower your level of visceral fat.