The width of the waist is associated with an increase in the amount of upper abdominal visceral fat that surrounds the internal organs. This type of fat directly affects the organs, altering metabolism and hormones and causing chronic diseases.
A figure higher than 90 cm for women and 100 cm for men means that you have excess reserves of upper abdominal fat.¹ This is one of the most valuable indicators to estimate your state of health in the coming years.
What is upper abdominal fat?
The abdominal fat upper (or visceral) is stored fat deposits in the upper area of the abdominal cavity. Unlike subcutaneous fat, which is soft to the touch, internal fat is a denser substance. You cannot feel it, hidden behind a layer of abdominal muscles.
Statistics show that the presence of fat reserves is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and some types of cancer¹. It has been seen that abdominal fat could increase the risk of senile dementia by up to 2 times. (2)
The critical point of abdominal fat growth is metabolic syndrome (a combination of severe obesity, diabetes, and hypertension). In this case, your chances of living a long and satisfying life are significantly reduced, and doctors advise you to change your lifestyle drastically.
Changes in gender and age
In general, men have the most amount of upper abdominal fat. In women, fat is usually deposited on the thighs and buttocks. This is primarily due to the sex hormones – testosterone, estrogens, and progesterone.
However, the situation changes after reaching 50 years: statistics show that during menopause, women gain on average 5 to 7 kg of excess weight, part of which is upper abdominal fat. (3)
This effect can be enhanced by hormonal changes generated by the consumption of refined carbohydrates. Stress also plays an important role; the increase in the stress hormone cortisol can lead to sleep problems and promote growth in abdominal fat.
Effects of sugar on increasing upper abdominal fat
Weight gain and upper abdominal fat growth are due not just to excess calories (and a sedentary lifestyle) but to extra sugar and other simple carbohydrates.
On average, a modern person consumes three times more sugar than the WHO recommendations allow, which contributes substantially to the increase in lipids in the abdomen.
Too much sugar in the diet stimulates the reward circuits in the brain, which ultimately leads to more cravings. In addition, excess glucose in the blood leads to excessive production of insulin and a more significant loss of sensitivity to its action. In parallel, insulin increases sodium retention, which leads to hypertension.
As if that were not enough, sugar has an exciting characteristic: its molecules can bind to proteins and fats in the human body, causing them damage. This generates compounds known as glycation end products strongly associated with aging. These processes accelerate dramatically after reaching 35 years of age.
Abdominal fat is fat stored within the upper abdominal cavity. Unlike subcutaneous fat, belly fat affects the body’s hormone levels and, in turn, puts pressure on the organs. An excess of this type of body fat is associated with complex alterations in metabolism and chronic diseases.