The Dangers of Visceral Fat

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Q) I am a fit 50-something, but my GP says I have excess visceral fat. What is it and what can I do about it?

A) Unlike the blobby, more benign subcutaneous fat just under your skin, visceral fat is stored deeply, wrapping itself around the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas and even creeping through muscles. ‘Visceral fat is the dangerous kind, caused by a high carbohydrate diet and sedentary behaviour,’ says Professor David Haslam of the National Obesity Forum.

‘Subcutaneous fat on the thighs, hips and stomach may create mechanical problems such as arthritis of the hips and knees, but doesn’t tend to cause metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, breast and colorectal cancer or Alzheimer’s disease,’ he explains. ‘Visceral fat pumps toxic chemicals called adipocytokines into the bloodstream. These create chronic low-grade inflammation and disrupt healthy metabolism [the way your body works to create energy and keep you functioning].’ Visceral fat may also affect your mood.

Unlike subcutaneous fat, you cannot see visceral fat. However, Harvard University notes that overweight or obese people are likely to have excess visceral fat, as it makes up about ten per cent of total body fat. Read More…

13 Of The Best Holiday Helpers

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  • Lanolips Antibacterial Hand Cream, £8.99 for 50ml. Intense moisturisation plus strong antibacterial ingredients to kill 99.9 per cent of germs, including staphylococcus aureus and e coli, instantly.
  • Food Science of Vermont Mega Probiotic-ND, £18.50 for 60 capsules. Start taking one week before travelling then daily to prevent holiday stomach upsets, ease digestion and help support your immune system.
  • Lepicol, £12.77 for 180g powder; this natural product (psyllium husks plus pre-and probiotics) is a must for anyone prone to holiday constipation, according to nutritionist Gillian Hamer.
  • PapayaGold Pawpaw Moisturising Balm, £5.99 for 25g, nationwide. A legendary standby in its native Australia, this soothing balm combines the medicinal properties of papaya and manuka honey. ‘Indispensable for any and every skin irritation, cuts and bruises, and for dry lips; a tennis-ball-sized burn from a metal slide healed very quickly,’ says our mother-of-two tester. Read More…