What is Visceral fat?

Visceral fat surrounds the organs and is connected with various diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, elevated triglycerides and the fast growing phenomenon known as metabolic syndrome.

Unlike stomach fat that is located under the skin, visceral fat proceeds as a lively endocrine organ releasing hormones that can lead to diabetes and insulin resistance.

To be diagnosed with intra-abdominal adiposity, your waist must be larger than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women. The common apple-shaped body is greatly associated with elevated levels of visceral fat storage. Unlike subcutaneous fat which jiggles on the outside, visceral fat environs the organs and can’t be visually seen.

The causes of visceral fat are related to genetic makeup and lifestyle behavior. Our DNA determines wherever our body accumulates fat. For example, women usually store fat in their thighs while men in general store surplus fat in their stomachs.

Lifestyle related causes of visceral fat are linked to the amount of calories consumed versus the amount of calories exhausted during exercises. Surplus in calories will be stored as fat in the body which can be used for future energy. To reduce belly fat, aerobic exercise is suggested for most days for 30-60 minutes as caloric ingestion is reduced.

Editor’s Note

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association [1] found that a lifestyle intervention involving physical exercise and diet was resulted in clinically significant weight loss in obese study participants.  After six months, participants lost 10.9 kg on average.  More importantly, visceral abdominal  fat, waist circumference, hepatic fat content, blood pressure, and insulin resistance were also reduced.

Visceral fat that surrounds the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas can be is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat that we see in obese people.  Some people can have dangerously high levels of fat surrounding these organs which can be seen on MRI body scanners.  People who look skinny, but have high-levels of internal fat are often referred to as, “skinny fat.” [2]


  1. JAMA. 2010 Oct 27;304(16):1795-802. Epub 2010 Oct 9.
  2. www.zeenews.com/news664510.html

Image credit:  http://cme.medscape.com/viewarticle/442813_3

Rafael Olartecoechea

I am the CEO of a supplement pharmaceuticals company specializing in mood improvement, weight loss, sports and cycling supplements. Healthy living, proper supplementation and proper exercise is our key focus.

3 thoughts on “What is Visceral fat?

  • November 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Exercise is important, but I think sometimes we tend to overlook making simple changes to what we eat.

    Just cutting down on the amount of processed foods and sugar we eat, makes a big difference in dropping body fat.

    At least that’s worked for me. Combine that with exercise and the results get bigger.

    Good thorough article, Rafael.

  • October 31, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Hi Rafael,

    I need to get my act together, when it comes to being consistent with exercise. This article is motivation for me to make exercise a regualar rountine.

    Interesting information!

  • October 31, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Reading these posts should keep me doing my exercises and eating healthy that’s for sure! Thanks for the information. Found it really helpful.
    Patricia Perth Australia


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.