By Kelley Herring
When it comes to fat on your body, you are probably most concerned about the visible fat on your belly, butt, and thighs. Or the fat that droops down under your chin and the back of your arms. This so-called “subcutaneous” fat is stored just under the skin. This is the visible fat that covers up lean muscle and makes you look “fat” in the mirror.
And while subcutaneous fat is certainly not appreciated by your ego’s desire to appear trim, healthy, and attractive, this is not the fat that should concern you the most. In fact, when it comes to your health, subcutaneous fat is relatively benign. It kind of just… sits there.
But there is another type of body fat – known as “visceral” fat – that can be quite dangerous to your health. Visceral fat is the deep belly fat that surrounds your internal organs. And this type of fat is highly metabolically active, producing molecules that negatively impact your metabolism, hormones, and levels of inflammation. [i][ii]
Therefore, it’s no surprise that visceral fat is associated with numerous forms of chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer.
The great news is that reducing visceral fat can go a long way to ward off chronic illness.
Saturated Fat Reduces Harmful Fat Stores in the Abdomen, Liver & Heart
In a recent randomized controlled trial, called the Norwegian Diet Intervention Study (FATFUNC), researchers set out to determine the validity of the mainstream dietary dogma that dietary fat – and especially saturated fat – is unhealthy for most people.
In the trial, 38 men with abdominal obesity followed a dietary pattern high in either carbohydrates or fat (half of which was saturated). The participants’ fat mass in the abdominal region, liver, and heart was measured, along with a number of key cardiovascular risk factors.
Both groups had a similar intake of calories, protein, and polyunsaturated fat. The food types were basically the same and varied primarily in quantity. Added sugars were minimized, and the primary fat sources were butter, cream, and cold-pressed oils.
The researchers found that the very high intake of total and saturated fat did NOT increase the calculated risk of cardiovascular diseases. On the contrary, they found the opposite was true. Professor and cardiologist, Ottar Nygård, who contributed to the study, says:
“Participants on the very-high-fat diet also had substantial improvements in several important cardiometabolic risk factors, such as ectopic fat storage, blood pressure, blood lipids (triglycerides), insulin and blood sugar.”
What’s more, even the participants in the saturated fat group, who consumed more calories than they were allowed, showed substantial reductions in fat stores and disease risk. This helps to prove, once again, that it is the quality – not the quantity – of calories that count.
The researchers go on to state what we’ve been preaching at Healing Gourmet for a long time:
“The alleged health risks of eating good-quality fats have been greatly exaggerated. It may be more important for public health to encourage reductions in processed flour-based products, highly processed fats, and foods with added sugar.”
Improve Your Health and Physique with a Fat-Focused Diet
When it comes to your health, focus on a diet rich in healthy fats – especially animal foods rich in saturated fat, including grass-fed beef, pastured pork and poultry, and traditional fats, like butter, tallow, lard, ghee, and coconut oil.
Also, be sure to reduce your omega-6 intake (from seeds, nuts, and seed oils) and keep carbohydrates and sugars to a bare minimum.
Need some high saturated fat meal ideas to get started?
- Grass-Fed Ribeye with Roasted Bone Marrow & Mixed Green Salad
- Pastured Bacon & Eggs
- Pastured Pork Chops & Braised Cabbage in Coconut Oil
Love comfort foods, but not the carbs? Check out Kelley’s FREE new book – Carb Lover’s Keto – with 100 recipes for all of your favorite comfort foods. From Chicken Parmigiana and Coconut Shrimp to Buffalo Wings and Pizza. Discover how you can indulge – 100% guilt free!
 Aparecida Silveira E, Vaseghi G, de Carvalho Santos AS, Kliemann N, Masoudkabir F, Noll M, Mohammadifard N, Sarrafzadegan N, de Oliveira C. Visceral Obesity and Its Shared Role in Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease: A Scoping Review of the Pathophysiology and Pharmacological Treatments. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 27;21(23):9042. doi: 10.3390/ijms21239042. PMID: 33261185; PMCID: PMC7730690.
 Dhawan D, Sharma S. Abdominal Obesity, Adipokines and Non-communicable Diseases. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020 Oct;203:105737. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105737. Epub 2020 Aug 18. PMID: 32818561; PMCID: PMC7431389.