Everyone has some belly fat. Even thin people with flat abs. But how much is too much?

Some fat is good but too much of it may affect your health; especially in your belly. Some fat lives under the skin and some fat lies deep in the body around vital organs such as the heart, liver and lungs.

Deep belly fat

The deeper fat is called visceral fat and provides cushioning around the vital organs. However, if there is too much of it around the organs, you are likely to suffer from diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure, breast and colon cancer

Visceral fat is an active fat that can create bad substances in the body. If you are obese, the fat may be stored in unusual places such as around the heart. Even the thin may have too much fat around the vital organs.

Thin People Get It

Thin people can also have too much visceral fat. This is determined by your genes, how physically active you are and the lifestyle you lead. Inactive people – even if thin on the outside – are prone to visceral fat. Activity is even more important than diet in the battle against deep fat.

Do I have it?

The most effective method of determining the amount of visceral fat in your body is an MRI or a CT scan. However, there are other simpler methods.

Measure your waist around the belly button while standing to check the body’s girth. Standing ensures that the tape measure is leveled. If you are a man, your waist should not exceed 101cm. For a woman, it should not be more than 88 cm.

How Do I Get Rid Of It?

You can easily eliminate belly fat by stress management, sleep, diet, and exercise.


When you train vigorously, you deal with all types of fat.

Do moderately intense exercise for about half an hour a day for five days each week. Do any activity that makes you sweat, breathe harder, and the heartbeat faster than usual. You can get similar results in half the time doing high intensity interval training for twenty minutes for four days.

If you are fit enough, step up to jogging. If starting out, walk on the treadmill. You can later progress to exercises that are more intense on rowing machines, elliptical and stationary bikes. Activities such as gardening, playing soccer, or going to an exercise can also work.

Seek medical advice before starting out, especially if you’ve never exercised before.


Although there are no magic diets, the belly fat is the fat you lose first while dieting. Fibre helps fight fat. 10 grams of fibre a day even without other dietary changes will prevent the build up of visceral fats. Simple sources include a cup of green peas, two apples a day or high-fibre bread instead of white.


People who sleep up to seven hours a night accumulate less visceral fat over five years compared to those who sleep five hours or less and those who sleep more than eight hours a night.


Since no one is immune to stress it is critical you handle the stress in a healthy and positive manner. Exercise, meditation, spending time with family, and getting counseling can help you manage stress.

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