The Battle Against Belly Fat

By on May 17, 2019
Belly Fat

Belly fat isn’t just a battle we fight as we reach middle age and experience changes in our image; it’s a battle we fight for our lives as well!  Researchers are finding more critical effects on health from visceral fat, and what we can do to prevent it, or reduce it. Visceral fat, which lies beneath the abdominal wall surrounding the liver and other organs, is responsible for several life-threatening problems such as; stroke, heart disease, diabetes and many others including cancers. Unfortunately, as we age, we begin to store more of this abdominal fat, which is why staying active and eating healthy is pertinent in prevention. Understanding your risk and prevention can not only improve the aging process, but it can also save your life.

What is Visceral Fat?

Visceral fat is active fat that stores in the abdominal cavity and affects the body’s functions.  The active fat influences hormonal imbalances and surrounds vital organs. As we age, this fat becomes more prominent, so eating and activity directly affect the amount of fat we store.  Eating high-quality foods and exercising is crucial to preventing the storage of fat. The most significant development researchers and doctors have found, is that the fat cell is its own endocrine organ, and secretes hormones and molecules that affect other tissues.  The fat also causes insulin resistant reactions in the body, which then causes not only hormonal imbalances but also causes the release of fatty acids and inflammatory substances into the liver. Consequently, experts are finding a direct role in the life-threatening health concerns linked with this abdominal obesity.

Because visceral fat secretes molecules that slow down the regulation of sugars, fats, and anti-inflammatory effects, the body becomes more at risk as this fat increases. Cardiovascular disease increases in chance as blood pressure, sugar levels, and triglyceride levels increase and good cholesterol decreases.  Doctors are considering this combination of change to be a major factor in metabolic syndrome. Type 2 Diabetes also becomes a danger as the body becomes insulin resistant. This means glucose, which controls blood sugar levels, cannot enter the cells and builds up in the bloodstream. The fat tissue also plays a role in releasing proteins into the bloodstream, which is responsible for cell formation and tumor development in cancers.

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For women, because we drop in estrogen levels, menopause results in adding significant amounts of visceral fats, correlated with an increased chance of breast and uterine cancer. However, there are approaches that can aid in regulating those levels and working that fat off or preventing it.  


Exercise and eating are the most crucial components in preventing and decreasing visceral fat.  We cannot change the inevitable fact that EVERYONE, must be aware and actively fight the increase of belly fat as we age. Building lean muscle tissue by doing weight resistance training is the key to prevention. The idea is burning calories when exercising and watching the number of calories we take into our bodies.  Dieting to lose weight can result in muscle loss, so if we do not build muscle as well, we lose the ability to burn calories, as muscle is metabolically active. We burn calories in any given workout, however, performing weight resistance exercises continues the burning of calories, even after your workout is finished. The spike in metabolism allows the body to burn more calories for a longer period of time.

High fructose-sweetened foods, trans fats, and high caloric intake increase visceral fat.  Changing our eating habits alone is NOT enough to affect the loss of belly fat. Exercise AND eating healthy combined are the solution to prevention and loss of fat.  Be mindful of how many calories you are taking in daily and plan how to burn those calories through activity. By taking care of your body is no longer for the sake of image, as we age, it becomes the determining factor in how many years we live and the quality of life within those years.

Health and FitnessNarisa Steinberg and father, Fred Steinberg, manage and train at The Facility providing Personal Training since 2014. They focus on the 40+ age group and those who have major health issues. Narisa draws on her studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa where she earned a Master’s Degree. The focus from Narisa and Fred is holistic, working with their client’s physical conditioning, nutritional intake, and eating habits. 



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The Battle Against Belly Fat