Experts warn that visceral fat (popularly known as abdominal fat, is the one that accumulates in the abdomen cavity, below the muscles, close to the viscera) is associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, mainly heart attack and atherosclerosis, diabetes type 2, liver failure, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, poor sleep quality, and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
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According to the postgraduate doctor in nutrology, dr. Hugo Gatto, the accumulation of this fat triggers an increase in weight and abdominal circumference, which reduces the quality of life and favors the emergence of various health problems.
The specialist also explains that the accumulation of visceral fat happens due to a diet rich in flour, sugar, saturated fats, ultra-processed foods and excess calories, in addition to the lack of regular physical exercise.
This means, according to Gatto, that the reduction of visceral fat is totally linked to the reduction of health risks. The recommendation, therefore, involves changing life habits, through a balanced diet in proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, together with regular physical exercises.
The loss of this fat is essential to maintain the health and proper functioning of the body, but it is worth understanding that no isolated food causes the condition, but the excess consumption of these foods together with lifestyle habits.
Foods to avoid in order not to accumulate visceral fat
The doctor recommends avoiding, in particular, foods such as snacks, frozen ultra-processed foods, sausages and ultra-processed foods in general. This is due to the fact that they are unhealthy food choices. In the case of snack foods, they are high in calories and saturated fat, as well as sodium and other additives, and eating them increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Frozen meals, such as pizza, hamburgers, nuggets and lasagna, are high in calories, sodium and saturated fat, which contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of health problems. On the other hand, processed foods are high in sodium and preservatives.
The doctor points out that stuffed biscuits, instant noodles, soft drinks, sweets, among others, are foods that have a high saturated and trans fat content, in addition to sugars, and are capable of increasing bad cholesterol and decreasing good cholesterol.
Science discoveries about visceral fat
Visceral fat has been the subject of much research. Recently, some discoveries have come to light, such as the contribution to the worsening of covid-19, for example. Researchers have also announced that sleeping poorly increases visceral fat and impairs cardiovascular health.
Last year, a team of Portuguese scientists made a discovery about how the brain controls, burns and regulates the visceral fatty tissue that surrounds our organs. Scientists used to think that the nervous system and the immune system collaborated to control visceral fat, based on signals that the two systems communicated to control the fatty tissue around the lungs. However, there was no such communication to other bodies.