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After the age of 20, more people than ever notice an increase in body fat. But the fat present in our bodies isn’t all the same – it includes visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. Fat is classified into two – essential and storage fat. Essential fat is something that is present within bones as marrow, around spine, (CNS) heart, and other delicate organs that need cushioning. This fat is also known as visceral fat.

Whereas, storage fat is where all your excess calories from unaccounted cheat days, that extra helping of fried chicken and that secret, frequent vada pav snacks go to- the kinds that make you grow in all places, horizontally. This fat is known as subcutaneous fat. It’s also called “the fat that you can pinch”.

visceral fat

In this blog, we will discuss all about visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. We will also discuss how to lose visceral fat, and how to lose subcutaneous fat.

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Subcutaneous fat vs. Visceral fat:

Subcutaneous fat is the fat layer that is usually found directly under the skin. It is fat that you can directly pinch. It collects around your hips, butt, thighs and belly. Some subcutaneous fat is actually good for your health and helps protect your body. For example: 

  • Pads your muscles and bones to protect you from bumps and falls 
  • Helps your blood vessels and nerves go easily between your skin and your muscles 
  • Control your body temperature to ensure  that you neither feel too warm or too cold.
  • Connects your middle layer of skin (dermis) to the bones and mucles with the help of special connective tissue 

Subcutaneous fat is actually the deepest layer of skin.  It is this particular fat that is used to measure your total body fat. You might be wondering what causes subcutaneous fat. To start with, your subcutaneous fat is determined by genetics. Everyone has some amount. Environmental factors like diet and lifestyle contribute to an increase in subcutaneous fat. If you eat fatty foods and have an inactive lifestyle, expect to see that increase! If you have low muscle mass and do not do aerobic activity, or have diabetes and are insulin-resistant, your levels of subcutaneous fat increase as well. 

However, there is nothing cute about the subcutaneous fat on the belly. As per evidence from studies in recent times, the danger about fat accumulation on the bellies is not just from visceral fat but also the subcutaneous fat. 

Potential Health Threats of Subcutaneous Fat:

In terms of overall health, subcutaneous fat in certain areas may have potential health threats. Too much subcutaneous fat overall leads to serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes and strokes. You need to start thinking about how to lose subcutaneous fat if you see too much of it!

Here are some other long-term diseases that can arise from too much subcutaneous fat: 

  • Cancer: Extra subcutaneous fat can increase the risks of developing some cancers 
  • Fatty liver diseases – Diseases where  the fat builds up in your liver over time and has bad consequences 
  • Heart diseases – Problems with your heart including heart attacks or heart failure, which can happen due to too much subcutaneous fat 
  • Kidney Disease – Kidney disease happens when your kidneys are damaged due to blockages and do not filter blood as they should.
  • Osteoarthritis – It is a condition that causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in your joints, due to the presence of excess subcutaneous fat. 

What is the normal percentage of subcutaneous fat? 

For most people, subcutaneous fat makes up around 90% of their body fat and the remaining 10% is made up of visceral fat. Measure your subcutaneous fat by measuring your Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference and waist-height ratio. Danger indicators include a BMI of between 25 – 29.9, a waist circumference above 35 cm or 40 cm, and a waist-height ratio above 0.5. Keep in mind that your waist should be less than half your height. 

Now that you know about the intricacies of subcutaneous fat, you might be wondering how to lose subcutaneous fat. 

The best way of losing subcutaneous fat is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Focus on taking a fat-burning diet and exercise plan. Get enough sleep and keep the stress away if you want to know how to lose subcutaneous fat. 

Visceral fat (also known as deep fat):

Visceral fat means basically the essential fat that is found wrapped around important organs for protection, including the liver and the intestines. However, increase in the body’s fat storage also means the fat in this area will be on the rise. The biggest visibility of visceral fat that most of us carry on their waist is the belly fat. Visceral fat makes a person’s belly stick out and can give you an “apple” shape. Visceral fat also produces hormones that can be toxic to the body. Even in thin people, a higher visceral fat level is dangerous as it can quickly become toxic. Visceral fat is actually more common in men than women. 

What causes visceral fat in the body? 

Visceral fat gets stored when you consume too many calories and do too little physical activity. Some people tend to store fat around their bellies instead of their hips. 

In women, after you hit menopause, your body can change where it stores fat. Your muscle mass will get less and your fat increases. Even if you do not put on weight, you are likely to develop visceral fat in the belly. In men, age and genetics play a huge role in developing visceral fat. Drinking alcohol can also lead to more belly fat in men. 

Higher the visceral fat, higher is your chance to be insulin resistant (threat of diabetes type 2). In one study, higher amounts of visceral fat was also linked with the risk of dementia with some kind of relation to the leptin hormone that is released by the fat, a hormone which stimulates hunger, memory and learning.

The best way of knowing if you have visceral fat is to measure your waist. The waist circumference is a good way of knowing how much fat is deep inside your belly, or around your organs. For women, your risk of chronic disease due  to visceral fat is increased if your waist circumference is above 80 cm, and for men, if it is 94cm or more. 

You might be wondering how to reduce visceral fat or how to lose visceral fat. The best way to lose visceral fat is through diet or exercise. Visceral fat responds better to diet or exercise than the fat on your hips. Regular exercise can also stop the continued presence of visceral fat. 

Here are some tips on how to reduce visceral fat: 

  1. Exercising for around 30 minutes every day (you can do cycling, aerobic exercises or strength training, or even go for a walk if you don’t have time for anything else) 
  2. Eating a healthy and balanced diet rich in healthy fat, protein and lesser simple carbohydrates 
  3. Avoiding smoking or smoking too often 
  4. Reducing your intake of sugary drinks or any drinks with artificial sweeteners like Maltodextrin 
  5. Getting around 7-8 hours of sleep in a day

Note – Do not rely on liposuction or any other kind of surgery to remove your visceral fat. The best way to handle it is through diet or exercise. 

Belly fat:

belly fat

When it comes to belly fat, it is important to understand that both visceral and subcutaneous fat contribute to this. An oversized waist/ belly is an indication big enough to send out the signal that it is an unhealthy belly more than focusing on what kind of fat it has.

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At a waist size of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men can spell increased risk of various diseases. When it comes to abdominal fat, a greater risk than the fat at hip or thigh since abdominal fat has more chances of affecting the cholesterol and hormonal functions.

Takeaway note:

The best approach to losing fat (whether it is visceral fat or subcutaneous fat) is first realizing that you need a solid lifestyle and diet shift. Making conscious effort to improve activity levels, sleep patterns, developing healthy habits, managing a proportioned and balanced diet goes a long way to help you get rid of that unwanted fat along with several unwanted health risks. 

If you want further information on how to lose visceral fat or how to lose subcutaneous fat, then speak to our expert team of nutritionists. They will be able to help you make a meal plan or plan out the exercises that can help you get rid of both subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. 

Add OZiva Protein & Herbs for Women to your diet to experience a reduction in body fat % in around 3 months! 

If you want a detailed nutrition consultation, drop us a mail at or call us on 9769298556 and our experts will help you with your fitness goal, including teaching you the difference between subcutaneous fat and visceral fat, and how to lose subcutanoeus fat. 

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