Visceral Fat Calculation: Understanding Your Belly Fat
Visceral fat is a type of body fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity and surrounds the internal organs. Unlike subcutaneous fat, which is located just below the skin and can be easily seen and felt, visceral fat is not visible from the outside and is often referred to as "hidden" or "belly" fat. Despite its hidden location, high levels of visceral fat can have significant health implications and are associated with a range of serious health problems.
Measuring Visceral Fat
Measuring the levels of visceral fat is important for understanding the potential health risks associated with excessive fat accumulation. While subcutaneous fat can be easily seen and felt, visceral fat is not visible from the outside and can only be measured using techniques such as body imaging scans.
The most accurate and reliable way to measure visceral fat is through a DEXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) scan. This type of scan uses low-dose X-rays with almost no radiation (equivalent to eating 4 bananas) to accurately measure the density of body fat, bone, and muscle. A DEXA scan provides information on the distribution of fat in the body, including the amount of subcutaneous fat and visceral fat.
Calculating Visceral Fat
There are several methods for calculating the amount of visceral fat in the body, including:
1. DEXA Scans
As mentioned, DEXA scans are the most accurate and reliable method for measuring body fat levels, including the amount of visceral fat.
2. Waist Circumference Measurement
This is a simple method that involves measuring the circumference of the waist using a tape measure. A waist circumference of more than 40 inches in men and more than 35 inches in women is generally considered to indicate high levels of visceral fat.
3. Body Mass Index (BMI)
This is a widely used method for calculating body fat levels that takes into account a person's height and weight. However, BMI is not always an accurate indicator of visceral fat levels, as it does not differentiate between fat and muscle.
4. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
This is a non-invasive method that uses a small electrical current to measure body fat levels. BIA is relatively quick and easy to perform, but it is not as accurate as DEXA scans.
Health Implications of High Visceral Fat
High levels of visceral fat have been linked to a range of serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. This is because visceral fat can increase insulin resistance, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, and also increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
In addition, visceral fat can also increase inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are associated with a range of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, high levels of visceral fat can also increase the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which excess fat accumulates in the liver and can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis.
Measuring the levels of visceral fat is important for understanding the potential health risks associated with excessive fat accumulation. DEXA scans are the most accurate and reliable method for measuring body fat levels, including the amount of visceral fat. By regularly monitoring visceral fat levels, individuals can track their progress and make necessary lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of visceral fat in their body and reduce the risk of serious health problems.
Get a Scan to Understand Your Levels
Measuring and reducing visceral fat is important for maintaining good health. Waist circumference and body composition scans can help you determine the amount of visceral fat you have. A combination of diet, exercise, and sleep can help you reduce visceral fat.
You can measure your body fat and composition, lean mass gains and losses over time, and bone health by getting regular DEXA scans. DEXA scans can help you pinpoint regional changes in your muscle and fat as you work towards your goals. Your data will accrue and compare side by side in your BodySpec reports, so you can stay on track to being your best self. Book an appointment today!