Abdominal fat: unhealthy belly fat.

Abdominal fat: unhealthy belly fat.

The bigger the belly, the shorter the life.

Even though most fitness programs fight against the unattractive fat pads on the hips and bottom - a fat (and not beautiful) belly is much more dangerous for our health.

Our body has two types of fatty tissue. The first is subcutaneous fat, i.e. fat that lies under the skin and is visible from the outside, for example on the bottom and hips. It is a rather passive tissue, which mainly serves as an energy storage for bad times and keeps us warm.

The visceral fat, on the other hand, is formed in the abdominal cavity around the organs, such as the liver and intestines. Here it forms more than 200 messenger substances, making it the largest glandular organ in the body. What our body needs it for is not completely understood. It is assumed that it is supposed to supply energy quickly when food is scarce and also supports our immune system.

However, if you have too much belly fat, the risk of getting high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus increases considerably, which in turn can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

In order to find out how your own body is doing, the famous Body Mass Index, or BMI for short, is unsuitable because it does not take into account the distribution of body fat. People with a normal weight, but who have a large abdominal girth, are therefore at risk despite their BMI value of <25.

A simple method is to measure with a tape measure. If you have a normal weight but a waist circumference of more than 102 cm (man) and 88 cm (woman), you are in the critical range of dying prematurely.

However, there is good news: when the body needs energy, the first thing it does is to break down its visceral fat. This means that as much exercise as possible in everyday life and a balanced diet that is not too high in calories will virtually melt away the abdominal fat. You can actually measure it: If you have reduced 100 grams of visceral fat, your waist is already about one centimetre slimmer, and you yourself become more attractive and a bit healthier.

(Edited from article by Heike Bludau)

Michel Robeers