If you’re carrying a few extra kilos, you’re not alone. In Australia, two thirds of adults are overweight or obese. And while there are many different reasons why people might struggle with their weight, there’s one factor that can be harder to shift than others: visceral fat.
Visceral fat is the type of fat that sits around your organs, and it’s different to the subcutaneous fat that you can see and pinch. Because it’s located deep inside your body, it’s not always obvious that you have it.
But even if you can’t see it, visceral fat can have a big impact on your health. It’s been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
So what causes visceral fat to build up in the first place? Here are eight ‘common’ reasons, according to an expert.
1. You’re eating too much sugar
One of the biggest drivers of visceral fat is a diet high in sugar. When you eat sugary foods, your body breaks them down into glucose and fructose. Fructose is then metabolised by your liver, and if you’re eating too much of it, your liver can become overwhelmed. This can lead to a build-up of fat around your organs, including your stomach.
2. You’re eating too much processed food
Processed foods are often high in sugar, but they can also contain other ingredients that can contribute to visceral fat. Trans fats, for example, are found in many processed foods and can cause your body to store more fat.
3. You’re not exercising enough
While diet is the most important factor when it comes to weight loss, exercise is also important. When you exercise, your body burn calories and this can help to reduce the amount of fat stored in your body, including visceral fat.
4. You’re carrying too much stress
Chronic stress can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can promote the accumulation of visceral fat. So if you’re feeling stressed, try to find ways to relax and unwind.
5. You’re not getting enough sleep
Sleep is important for all aspects of health, and it can also impact your weight. When you’re not getting enough sleep, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin. This hormone increases your appetite and can lead to weight gain.
6. You have a slow metabolism
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. If you have a slow metabolism, you’re more likely to store fat, including visceral fat.
7. You have a hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalances can also lead to weight gain, including visceral fat. If you’re carrying extra weight, it’s a good idea to get your hormones checked by a doctor or naturopath.
8. You’re drinking too much alcohol
Drinking alcohol can also contribute to weight gain. Alcohol is high in calories and it can also lead to an increase in appetite. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to limit your alcohol intake.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you to identify any factors that may be contributing to your weight gain and develop a plan to help you lose weight.
When it comes to weight loss, it’s important to remember that not all fat is created equal. In fact, there are two main types of fat in our bodies – subcutaneous fat, which is the kind you can see and grab, and visceral fat, which is the deeper fat that surrounds our organs.
While both types of fat are important for our health, too much visceral fat can be detrimental to our health and can lead to a host of issues, including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, it could be because you have too much visceral fat. Here are eight ‘common’ reasons you might be struggling to lose weight, despite your best efforts.
1. You have a fatty liver
One of the most common reasons for struggling to lose weight is having a fatty liver. This happens when there’s too much fat in the liver, and it can lead to a host of issues, including weight gain.
2. You have insulin resistance
Another common reason for weight gain is insulin resistance. This is when the body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin, and it can lead to weight gain, as well as type 2 diabetes.
3. You have a slow metabolism
If you have a slow metabolism, it means your body is not as efficient at burning calories, and this can lead to weight gain.
4. You have a hormone imbalance
Hormones play a big role in weight regulation, and if you have a hormone imbalance, it can lead to weight gain. Some common hormone imbalances that can lead to weight gain include thyroid problems, PCOS and menopause.
5. You’re not getting enough sleep
Many of us don’t get enough sleep, and this can lead to weight gain. When we’re tired, our bodies crave energy, and this can lead to us reaching for sugary and fatty foods.
6. You’re stressed
Chronic stress can lead to weight gain, as well as a host of other health issues. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol, which can lead to increased appetite and cravings for sugary and fatty foods.
7. You have a gut disorder
There are a number of gut disorders that can lead to weight gain, such as IBS, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease. These disorders can cause inflammation and can make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients properly, leading to weight gain.
8. You’re taking certain medications
Certain medications can lead to weight gain, such as contraceptives, beta blockers and antidepressants. If you’re taking any medications, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the potential side effects.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, it could be because of one of these eight ‘common’ reasons. If you think you might have too much visceral fat, it’s important to speak to your doctor and get a professional opinion.