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The physical health of Americans, as far as obesity and weight are concerned, is on the minds of physicians more than ever. However, weight-related health risks and disease aren't limited or exclusive to severe cases. Body fat stored in the abdomen is now known to be potentially dangerous to bodily health.
Let's breakdown the two types of body fat around your midsection: Subcutaneous: the squeezable part that pushes you to hit the gym, extra hard around the holidays. Visceral: less touchable, but still prominent; this fat lines our inner organs, the intestines, pancreas, kidneys and liver. Visceral fat is also visible, as it is responsible for creating the beer belly.
While subcutaneous fat is bothersome, it's actually visceral fat that can be potentially very problematic. Unlike subcutaneous fat, which just acts as a unused energy depository, visceral fat acts like a gland, breaking down hormones and fatty acids, which are all directly metabolized by the liver.
When you have an excess of visceral fat, you start running out of room for everything; it's like trying to stuff ten pounds of sand into a sack with a five-pound capacity.
So why is it abdomen fat is only now becoming such a concern? Part of that answer lies in genetics, and the other part lies in the modern diet. Some people are genetically predisposed to store fat in their abdomen, as opposed to the legs, buttocks and chest. Your body type often determines where more of your bodily fat is stored; pear shaped implies wider lower regions and apple implies a thicker top half.
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