Visceral Fat vs Subcutaneous Fat - Differences and Abdominal Exercise

Visceral Fat vs Subcutaneous Fat – Differences and Abdominal Exercise

Visceral Fat vs Subcutaneous Fat – A published study by the University of the Basque Country in which fat diet associated with excess abdominal fat in adolescents, a situation that occurs regardless of physical activity they perform. The study determines that no matter what kilocalories are consumed and what physical activity is performed, an excess of fats in the diet leads to a greater accumulation of abdominal fatWe want to explain what abdominal fat is, since it is not the same as another type of fat, very annoying also, the subcutaneous.Visceral Fat vs Subcutaneous Fat

Abdominal fat is also called visceral fat, intra-abdominal fat, abdominal obesity or gynoid obesity. It is a fat, as its name suggests, which is found in the internal part, under the abdominal muscular layer (hence the name of abdominal fat), surrounds our viscera, hindering its proper functioning. In fact, the measurement of abdominal fat is an indicator of cardiovascular risk. In addition, this fat acts as one more organ and works independently with its own metabolic activity, increasing the inflammation factor and releasing substances involved in the appearance of metabolic diseases. like diabetes mellitus type II, cholesterol and other diseases that are related to obesity.

It is a fat more typical of men, which naturally accumulate more abdominal fat. It is what gives the male body the typical apple shape.

The subcutaneous fat, unlike the visceral fat, is accumulated under the skin above the muscle, and generally is in the lower body, hips, and thighs. It is more related to the female sex and is what gives the typical pear shape.

With age and menopause, especially the latter, this distribution changes and the fat of the ladies is becoming more visceral. Hence, women, when they reach this stage of their lives, increase their cardiovascular risk, equating and even surpassing that of men.

There are simple ways to know if the belly we have is mostly subcutaneous fat or visceral fat. One we would have observing her. If it is a hard belly to which we feel a certain tension when pressing it, we have many numbers that this one is formed by abdominal fat.

If we lie on our backs and the belly falls, it loses volume, it is an indicator that we have subcutaneous fat. If it does not change practically in volume and size, we would opt for the opposite.

There are tables and consultation measures that estimate cardiovascular risk. One of them is very simple and you will only need a tape measure (like the one used in dressmaking). The contour of the waist is measured, the result is recorded and compared with the estimation values. In the case of women it is necessary that it is below 88cm. In the case of menbelow 102cm.

Therefore, what should we do?

Once again the importance of food and the quality of it, as well as quantity, is demonstrated to prevent the appearance of complications. And we are not just talking about an aesthetic problem.

From the beginning, check our diet. Maybe there is something that we are not doing quite right. Especially if we realize that our belly has increased or is increasing in volume lately.

As we have said, not only at a quantitative level. We must also review the quality of what we eat, how and when we are doing it.

Bet on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, which will provide an important load of vitamins, minerals, water and fiber. And decrease the consumption of saturated fats from highly processed foods, excess meat consumption and betting on skimming. Qualitatively, increase the consumption of unsaturated fats (all this, without forgetting not to excessively increase the total kilocalories of the diet ). These are found in foods such as olive oil and seeds, bluefish, nuts or avocados.

Ensure that there is variety, balance and moderation in our diet.

And move. Because physical activity is energy that we spend. And the energy we get from the food. If there is an excessive input of energy but not an exit, the result we all know.

Many of us invest a lot of money and energy because we want to get perfect abs. The problem is that many times we waste it on the wrong things. Fashion diets continually appear that promise to burn belly fat. In addition to recommending a host of abdominals that prove to be ineffective. We have to realize that we can not focus on the diet, that is, we cannot decide where to eliminate the fat. On the other hand, we can carry out a complete program that will help us lose abdominal fat.

Visceral Fat vs. Subcutaneous Fat

When talking about abdominal fat, it is important that we differentiate between different types of fat. On the one hand,  subcutaneous fat is the one that is stored just under our skin. We can touch it and grab it, we know it’s there.

On the other hand,  visceral fat is the deep fat that surrounds our organs in the abdomen and is biologically active. It disrupts the normal balance and functioning of hormones, so it can affect our health. It also pumps chemicals from the immune system called cytokines – chemical products that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. The good news is that visceral fat responds well to diet and exercise.

The perfect abs are made in the kitchen

To get rid of the layer of fat that covers our abdominal muscles, it is important that we pay close attention to our diet. Unfortunately, there is no magic diet to reduce abdominal fat. On the other hand, the key that will help reduce it is the following:

  • Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables
  • Eat lean proteins and healthy fats 
  • Include some whole grains


What foods should we eliminate?

We have to avoid consuming processed products and eliminate excess salt, fat and, especially, sugar –  sugary drinks, baked goods and other sweets. If we consume large amounts of sugar, we can suffer from hyperglycemia – a high increase in blood sugar levels – and the excess would be stored as fat, often in our abdominal area.

Exercises directed for the abdominal muscles

Although it is difficult to reduce a specific part of the body, according to fitness expert, we can ” strengthen that part “. The burning of calories will disappear the layer of fat that covers our abdominal muscles, so the abdominals will appear little by little. Elkaim explains that an effective exercise for the abdominals consists in combining the burning of calories with strength exercises, to strengthen the abdominal muscles. This is the reason why doing crunches and crunches is not enough, because it is necessary to burn enough calories.

The fitness expert recommends doing the following exercises :

  • Squats
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers

It would be necessary to perform two or three series of six to eight repetitions each, according to the marked objective and the body of each one, using a weight that is challenging but does not become exhausting.

It may seem that these exercises are not directly directed to our abdominals, but they do require an important force of them. In addition, these exercises also help to undo the layer of fat on our abdomen and reduce the amount of insulin, the hormone that activates our body to maintain excess fat in the blood.


Reduce stress

The visceral fat  of our abdomen is  affected by stress levels . When we are stressed, our body releases a hormone called cortisol . Although it is a normal physiological process, it becomes a problem when stress and cortisol levels remain high for a long time. When this happens, our body begins to store excess fat in the abdominal area and we will have  difficulty in undoing it . In addition, it contributes to a rounded abdomen .

In 2000, a study was published in psychosomatic medicine that reported that  stress can cause an increase in abdominal fat , even in women and men who are thin.

If you are stressed, it is a good idea to participate in activities that can help you relax. For example, fitness or yoga.

What types of fats are easier to eliminate?

The human body has essentially two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is found under the outer layer of the skin. This is also the type of fat that is mentioned more often because it is the most visible. The visceral fat is located deep inside the abdomen and surrounds the main organs. According to an article published in Medical News Today, the more visceral fat you have, the greater the risk that you will develop metabolic syndromes such as insulin resistance and heart disease.

Subcutaneous fat against visceral fat

In a 1997 study of “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” frequently cited in medical journals, researchers divided a group of overweight sedentary women into three groups.The control group did not exercise or restrict their caloric intake The second group exercised 2 or 3 days a week in addition to having some calorie restrictions, and the third group exercised 3 to 4 days a week without calorie restrictions After 13 weeks, the volunteers who exercised 3 to 4 days a week they eliminated a significantly greater amount of subcutaneous fat compared to those who exercised less frequently Visceral fat decreased significantly in the volunteers of both exercise groups.While any amount of exercise can reduce deep abdominal fat, people should exercise more frequently to reduce the external fat that is responsible for cellulite and waist fat.

Gender differences

Your ability to eliminate subcutaneous and visceral fat may be predetermined by your gender. In a 1998 study published in the journal “Obesity Research,” some obese volunteers underwent a severely restricted calorie diet.The men consumed 1,500 calories a day while the women consumed 1,200 calories.After 15 weeks the men experienced a greater reduction of intra-abdominal fat and a higher reduction in the risk of metabolic disorders Women experienced a greater reduction of subcutaneous fat.

High intensity exercise

“Visceral fat succumbs quite easily to exercise and diet,” reports Harvard Medical School, and “subcutaneous fat can be frustratingly difficult to eliminate.” However, engaging in a vigorous exercise regimen can reduce subcutaneous fat at a slightly higher rate than intra-abdominal fat. In the study, 175 sedentary and overweight men and women were divided into four groups with variations in the intensity of their training, from lack of exercise to high intensity exercise. Although even the lowest dose of exercise did not result in weight gain in the volunteers, those who exercised at a level comparable to the 17-mile trot a week experienced a significant reduction in subcutaneous and visceral fat.

How to avoid visceral fat

Visceral fat is much more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. According to the Harvard Family Health Guide, intra-abdominal fat is a key factor in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in men and women and in breast cancer and the need to undergo gallbladder surgery biliary in women. Instead of focusing on how to lose visceral fat, doctors would prefer to work on how to prevent it. In 2005, researchers at Duke University discovered that sedentary people increased their visceral fat level by approximately 8.6% for 6 months, or 4 pounds per year. Walk at a rapid pace for 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week, which is considered a moderate exercise program,