3 Reasons Why It Is Important To Lose Belly Fat and How To Do It Right

belly fat 3There are two types of fat tissue in our body:

Both types of fat tissue make up belly fat, but there is a significant difference between the two types of fat.

Subcutaneous fat is the fat stored under the skin all over our body. It is also found in the belly area. In and of itself, it is less harmful.

Visceral fat forms the second component of belly fat. Visceral fat pads the space between abdominal organs and sets the stage for disease.

But why? What is the difference between these two types of fat?

These two types of fat cells look and function differently.

Subcutaneous fat cells are smaller than visceral fat cells, and there are more of them.

Visceral fat cells are larger in size than subcutaneous fat cells and are biologically active. They actually function as an endocrine organ.

Visceral fat cells produce different products that affect our health and lead to disease.

They produce:

  1. Cytokines
  2. Specific proteins
  3. Free fatty acids

1. Cytokines affect the behavior of other cells and are especially important for immune function where they regulate inflammation. The balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines plays a critical role in the body’s response to inflammatory stimulus. Visceral fat cells release pro-inflammatory cytokines which support the development of inflammation, cancer (especially colorectal cancer and breast cancer), heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, as well as increased oxidation which leads to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and aging.

2. Proteins such as retinol-binding protein are also released by visceral fat cells which lead to insulin resistance, increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes by affecting the body’s ability to metabolize sugar due to glucose intolerance. Another protein that visceral fat promotes its production is the steroid hormone cortisol, a stress hormone. Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream have adverse effects on the thyroid gland, decrease bone density and lower immunity as well as influence our mood.

3. Free fatty acids are also released by visceral fat cells. Free fatty acids are the building blocks for making triglycerides. Due to the close proximity between the visceral fat and the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestinal area to the liver, the free fatty acids released from visceral fat tissue, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they influence the production of blood lipids and increase total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. (2) Both are risk factors for heart disease. Furthermore, excess fat in the liver is a key marker of metabolic dysfunction (2) inhibiting the ability of insulin to stimulate muscle glucose uptake. (3)

So how do you know when visceral fat levels are too high?

You can do an MRI scan to get precise results, but also just by measuring your waistline you can determine if it is time to change your lifestyle habits:

  • Men are considered at high risk if they have a waistline of over 40 inches.
  • Women are considered at high risk if they have a waistline of over 35 inches.

Measure your waistline one inch below your belly-button by using a seamstress measuring tape.

Another way to measure visceral fat is by using the Tanita scale.

It is obviously best to start changing lifestyle habits before this critical stage is reached.

If you have determined that it’s time to change your lifestyle habits, where should you begin?

pic belly

Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, will tighten abdominal muscles, but won’t reduce visceral fat. Instead, start with any chosen endurance exercise, including walking, biking or swimming, and do it continuously for 30 minutes, at least three times a week.

Increase fiber intake which helps remove fat from the body before it gets absorbed. Do this by increasing fruit, vegetable, legume and whole grain intake while eliminating empty calories including sugar and excess alcohol from your diet.

Reducing overall energy intake will also lead to a substantial reduction in liver fat and improvement in insulin sensitivity. The best way to do this is to lessen the number of fat rich foods from animal products eaten during any given meal and to snack on healthy, low energy density foods especially vegetable sticks, whole grain crackers and fruit in between meals.

Also, make sure you also get a good night’s sleep. To understand the importance of sleep for weight loss and health see my article HERE.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you are serious about improving your health no matter what your age or circumstance are, and are ready to achieve better results with your weight loss attempts, guaranteed, then join my mailing list where you will receive my weekly newsletter with groundbreaking health, motivational content, recipes, supplement recommendations, easy workouts, as well as many FREE bonuses and special offers. Click HERE to subscribe. Or visit the Guerrilla Diet Website for my health advice, offers, programs and free information HERE.


  1. Van der Poorten D, Milner KL, Hui J, Hodge A, Trenell MI, Kench JG, London R, Peduto T, Chisholm DJ, George J.Visceral fat: a key mediator of steatohepatitis in metabolic liver disease. Hepatology. 2008 Aug;48(2):449-57. doi: 10.1002/hep.22350
  2. Nielsen, S, Guo, ZK, Johnson, CM, Hensrud, DD, Jensen, MD. Splanchnic lipolysis in human obesity. J. Clin. Invest. 2004. 113:1582-1588. doi: 10.1172/JCI200421047. View this article via JCI.org PubMed Google Scholar
  3. Fabbrini E, Magkos F, Mohammed S, Pietka T, Abumrad NA, Patterson BW, Okunade A, Klein S. Intrahepatic fat, not visceral fat, is linked with metabolic complications of obesity. Intrahepatic fat, not visceral fat, is linked with metabolic complications of obesity. PNAS, 2009; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0904944106
  4. Boden, G.Role of fatty acids in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and NIDDM. Diabetes. 1997. 46:3-10.
  5. Bjorntorp, P.Portal adipose tissue as a generator of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Arteriosclerosis. 1990. 10:493-496.


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