This Kind of Fat is Most Dangerous, Say Experts — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


When it comes to our health, the type of fat we consume is just as important as the amount. According to experts, some types of fat are more dangerous than others and can increase our risk of developing serious health conditions. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of fat and discuss which ones are the most dangerous. We’ll also provide some tips on how to make healthier food choices and reduce our risk of developing health problems. So, if you’re looking to make healthier food choices and reduce your risk of developing health problems, read on to learn more about the different types of fat and which ones to avoid.

This Kind of Fat is Most Dangerous, Say Experts — Eat This Not That

Experts are warning that the most dangerous type of fat is the one that is often overlooked. Trans fat, also known as partially hydrogenated oil, is found in many processed foods and is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Trans fat is created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it more solid. This process is used to extend the shelf life of processed foods, but it also increases the amount of unhealthy fat in the food.

The American Heart Association recommends that people limit their intake of trans fat to less than 1% of their total daily calories. This means that if you eat 2,000 calories a day, you should consume no more than 2 grams of trans fat.

The best way to avoid trans fat is to read food labels and avoid processed foods. Look for foods that are labeled “trans fat-free” or “no partially hydrogenated oils.”

Instead of processed foods, experts recommend eating more whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. These foods are naturally low in trans fat and are also packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

By making healthier food choices, you can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, remember to eat this, not that!

Generally, putting on excess amounts of body fat is no reason to celebrate. But adding a certain type of body fat is a particular cause for concern. Visceral fat (also known as belly fat or abdominal fat) lies deep within the abdomen, where it sits close to—and can literally poison—various vital organs. That increases your risk of serious disease, including one of the most-feared disorders of aging, a new study has found. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

Doctor measuring obese man waist body fat.

There are two kinds of body fat: subcutaneous fat (the fat that lies just underneath the skin, which you can grab or pinch) and visceral fat. 

Visceral fat lies well beyond your reach, underneath the abdominal muscles. It sits near vital organs like the stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas. That’s dangerous, because visceral fat is actually metabolically active—it releases hormones, toxins and other damaging substances into those nearby organs. 

“Troublemaker fat” is how Dr. Gail Greendale, a professor of medicine at UCLA, recently described visceral fat in the New York Times.

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Overweight woman discussing test results with doctor in hospital.

Excess visceral fat raises your risk of serious health conditions, including:

Additionally, a new study has found that carrying extra visceral fat may damage the brain.

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older man with dementia talking to doctor
Shutterstock / Robert Kneschke

The study, published this week in JAMA Network Open, suggests that having excess body fat (both visceral and overall) may increase your risk of reduced cognitive function. The risk of cognitive disorders like dementia (the most common form of which is Alzheimer’s disease) increases naturally with age. Carrying extra visceral fat in middle age and beyond may be a prohibitive strike against maintaining optimal brain health in your golden years.

The researchers analyzed the body fat levels of nearly 9,200 people, about 6,700 of whom underwent MRI scans to measure their levels of vascular (blood vessel) injury and abdominal fat. The scientists found that people who had more visceral fat had higher levels of vascular injury and scored lower on cognitive tests—even after adjusting for other risk factors for those conditions. “Strategies to prevent or reduce adiposity [body fat] may preserve cognitive function among adults,” the researchers wrote.

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man measuring waist weight loss

To gauge if you have excess visceral fat, measure your waist at the belly button. Experts say you’re at higher risk of health problems related to visceral fat if your waist is more than 35 inches if you’re a woman, or more than 40 inches if you’re a man. 

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woman lacing her shoes before a workout

Research suggests these can be effective ways to reduce or prevent belly fat:

  • Get enough sleep. Scientists at Wake Forest University found that dieters who slept five hours or less every night put on 2.5 times more belly fat than people who got a good amount of sleep—seven to nine hours a night. 
  • Exercise regularly. According to a 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients, exercise reduces visceral fat even if you don’t lose weight. Exercise spurs the liver to burn nearby stores of visceral fat.
  • Avoid added sugar. “​​Fructose, or sugar, causes fat cells to mature faster, specifically in the visceral fat,” says the Cleveland Clinic. To burn belly fat, avoid foods high in added sugar, like sugar-sweetened beverages, refined carbs, sweets, and processed foods.
  • Reduce stress. Chronic feelings of stress cause the brain to produce more cortisol, a.k.a. “the stress hormone.” Among its functions is a holdover from caveman times: Cortisol tells the body to store fat around the midsection in case it’s needed for fuel during an imminent emergency. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.