Do you think that excess calories are deposited under the skin as fat around the thighs, abdomen, arms and hips? You are wrong – the fat can also surround the internal organs, and its growth may be associated not so much with the positive caloric balance as with the high sugar consumption. 

Too high intake of sugar and fat in the diet may ultimately lead to the onset of non-alcoholic fatty liver (hereafter referred to as NAFLD, a non alcoholic fatty liver disease). Additional factors favoring this disease are low intake of antioxidants and fiber.

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Visceral fat needed – but very harmful in excess 

Visceral fat, also called visceral fat, is obtained in small quantities from the mother of nature. It creates a protective coating around the organs located in the abdominal cavity – around the heart, liver, pancreas, stomach etc. However, under the influence of incorrect eating habits there is an increase in the amount of visceral fat – and instead of protecting organs, it hinders their functioning, increasing the risk of disease. 

Not only sugar 

This article is mainly devoted to the impact of excessive sugar intake on visceral fat. However, it should be clearly stated that an increase in the level of visceral fat may also occur in people who consume little sugar, but a lot of trans fats. They are nutrients that are considered the most dangerous of lipids. Their source is hardened vegetable oils. We find trans fats in any product that has been fried in vegetable oil, and therefore in chips, cookies, sweets, fries, donuts, nuts. Hardened vegetable fats can also be found in margarine. Previously, it was thought that saturated fat, or animal fats, responsible for diseases, are the source of, among others, butter. That is why margarine was considered healthier. In the light of current knowledge, nutritionists say that butter is definitely less harmful than margarine rich in trans fats. 

Help! I have an obese liver! 

A remedy for the fatness of internal organs is a change in eating habits, because it is in the wrong nutrition that the source of the problem lies. Patients are advised to eliminate refined sugar and its substitutes, eg glucose-fructose syrup. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as it may seem. The most reasonable solution is gradual, successive reduction of sugar consumption, eg by eliminating highly processed products from the diet. Giving advice in the style you need to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits is too much simplification, which additionally is misleading. Fruits are also a source of simple sugars . If you eat a fresh apple or orange, your blood sugar level will not increase significantly – fiber will take care of it. However, drinking a few glasses of juice made from 100% concentrated fruit juice may harm the liver. 

NAFLD – succession of obesity and metabolic syndrome 

In the light of current knowledge, it is assumed that non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is a consequence of histological changes occurring in the liver, in the course of diseases such as metabolic syndrome and obesity. In addition, the development of hepatic steatosis may be associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus and other glucose metabolism disorders – dyslipidemia impaired glucose tolerance. In the course of NAFLD, triglyceride accumulates in the liver. The inflammatory process, which can lead to oxidative stress, is the source of the disease. 

What is worse, the disease usually has an asymptomatic course. The basic diagnostic methods used in the course of NAFLD include biochemical diagnostics, computed tomography and ultrasound. Occasionally, a liver biopsy or magnetic resonance imaging is necessary. Therapeutic treatment is based on the use of weight loss aids, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant preparations. Physical activity and hypocaloric diet are also important elements of treatment. 

Hypocaloric diet rescue for patients with NAFLD 

The basic premise of a hypocaloric diet is to reduce the intake of carbohydrates and saturated fats. Patients should avoid juice and excess fruit – especially fructose must be reduced. The menu should be enriched with antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids and fiber. 

Although the main goal of the hypocaloric diet is to reduce the patient’s weight, it is important to remember that the maximum weight loss is 0.5 kg per week. Too fast a slimming rate could harm – increasing fibrosis in the liver parenchyma. Patients are also recommended physical activity to support the achievement and maintenance of reduced body weight. Sport in such a release improves cardiovascular fitness and reduces insulin resistance. 

Diet and physical activity support pharmacotherapy 

The treatment of NAFLD uses, among others, orlistat, a medicine that reduces body weight. However, the direct therapeutic effect of this preparation has not been proven. As part of pharmacological treatment, insulin sensitivity enhancers and lipid-enhancing drugs are also successfully used. However, it has been observed that the positive effects of their action disappear after the end of therapy. 

Greasy pancreas more susceptible to diabetes 

Excessive visceral fat around the pancreas significantly increases the risk of insulin resistance followed by type II diabetes. There are still ongoing studies, the subject of which is to explain the possible impact of excess body fat on the development of inflammatory and cancerous diseases of the pancreas. Knowledge in this area is still insufficient. 

Speaking of steatosis, we intuitively think about the organ’s environment through adipose tissue. This is not entirely true. In medicine, the steatosis of a specific organ is defined as an elevated concentration of triglycerides in cells. This is accompanied by hypotoxicity and organ dysfunction. Triglycerides are not harmful – the products of increased metabolism cause damage to the cells of the exocrine and endocrine part of the pancreas. Initially, adipocytes (fat cells) are dispersed. Then there is a partial or complete replacement of the exocrine tissue formation by adipocytes (the so-called fatty replacement). 

Visceral fat promotes degeneration of the spine 

It is not only visceral fat that is responsible for degenerative diseases of the spine, but also because excess visceral fat in most cases goes hand in hand with obesity. Excessive body weight puts a lot of strain on the bone – joint system, especially the spine. The accumulation of visceral fat also promotes atherosclerosis. 

Highly processed products are a dietary threat 

The main source of trans fats and simple sugars are highly processed products. By limiting their intake to several during the week, you can significantly reduce the risk of diseases associated with excess visceral fat. 

The exercises alone will not help! 

It is a mistake to think that with the help of exercise alone, it will be possible to burn off the excess fat accumulated around internal organs. The fat is very annoying – it can be reduced mainly by limiting the consumption of highly processed products, and thus trans fats and simple sugars. The menu should contain healthy vegetable fats – linseed oil, nuts and olive oil, but of course in appropriate quantities. The menu also has to eliminate alcohol. 

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You can read also: Ensure your liver’s longevity!

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