Why is it Important to Know My Visceral Fat and How can a DEXA Scan Help

Understanding your visceral fat levels is crucial for your overall health, and a DEXA (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) scan can provide an accurate assessment.  Here we explore the importance of knowing your visceral fat levels and how a DEXA scan can help you monitor and manage it.

What is Visceral Fat?

Visceral Fat is a type of fat stored within the abdominal cavity. It surrounds major organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines. Unlike subcutaneous fat, (the stuff you can pinch) visceral fat is not visible from the outside and is often referred to as ''hidden'' fat. While some level of visceral fat is necessary for protecting organs, excess amounts can pose significant health risks.

Why is Visceral Fat Dangerous?

Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases

High levels of visceral fat are linked to an increased risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. It can lead to insulin resistance and inflammation, which are critical factors in the development of these diseases.

Impact on Metabolic Health

Visceral fat can interfere with hormone function and disrupt the body's ability to regulate glucose and lipid metabolism, leading to metabolic syndrome - a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Liver Health

Excess visceral fat is associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), where fat accumulates in the liver, potentially leading to liver damage or even liver failure.

Cardiovascular Health

Visceral fat contributes to the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, increasing the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes,

How Can You Measure Visceral Fat?

Traditional methods like BMI and waist circumference provide a rough estimate of fat levels but do not accurately measure visceral fat. This is where advanced imaging techniques like DEXA scans come into play.

How Does a DEXA Scan Work?

A DEXA scan involves laying on a table while a scanning arm passes over your body, emitting low-dose X-rays. The X-rays pass through the body and are absorbed at different rates by different tissues (bone, fat, and muscle).

The data is then analysed to produce a detailed map of your body composition, including precise measurements of bone density, lean muscle mass, and fat distribution.

The DEXA scan provides a clear and accurate measurement of visceral fat, distinguishing it from subcutaneous fat giving you a comprehensive understanding of your fat distribution.

Why Use a DEXA Scan to Measure Visceral Fat?

Widely considered the 'Gold Standard' in testing, the DEXA scan is one of the most accurate methods available for measuring visceral fat. It provides precise measurements that are more reliable than traditional methods like callipers or BMI calculations.

Beyond just fat measurement, a DEXA scan gives a complete picture of your body composition, including bone density and lean muscle mass. This comprehensive data is invaluable for creating a tailored health and fitness plan.

The scan is non-invasive, quick, and painless, making it an easy choice for regular monitoring of your body composition and visceral fat levels.

The detailed results from a DEXA scan allow you to understand your specific health risks related to visceral fat and take proactive steps to address them.

If I'm Concerned About My Level of Visceral Fat, How Can I Reduce It?

Introducing a healthy diet and focusing on a balanced diet rich in whole foods, fibre, and healthy fats while minimising processed foods and sugar is a great place to start.

Engaging in a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training can help to reduce visceral fat and improve overall body composition.

Chronic stress is known to contribute to visceral fat accumulation. Managing stress levels by engaging in activities such as yoga, meditation and adequate sleep can help manage stress levels.

Regularly monitoring your visceral fat levels by using DEXA can help keep track of your progress and assist with making informed adjustments to your lifestyle.

In conclusion, understanding and managing your visceral fat levels is critical for long-term health and well-being. A DEXA scan provides an accurate and comprehensive assessment of your body composition, offering valuable insights into your visceral fat levels. By taking proactive steps to monitor and reduce visceral fat levels. by taking proactive steps to monitor and reduce visceral fat, you can significantly lower your risk of chronic diseases and improve your overall health. 

Can Food Assist in Reducing Visceral Fat?

The good news is that diet plays a crucial role in managing and reducing visceral fat. Incorporating certain foods into your diet can help effectively reduce this harmful fat and improve your overall health. Now we're going to take a look at some of these foods known to combat visceral fat.

Fibre-Rich Foods

Foods high in soluble fibre are particularly effective in reducing visceral fat. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive system, which helps slow down digestion and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. This can reduce overall calorie intake and help in the management of visceral fat.

Healthy Fats

Incorporating healthy fats into your diet can also help reduce visceral fat by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation. These fats are found in a variety of plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, and fish. 

Protein-Rich Foods

A diet high in protein can help reduce visceral fat by promoting muscle growth and increasing the number of calories burned during digestion. Protein also helps control appetite and reduce overall calorie intake.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a great source of fibre and other essential nutrients that help reduce visceral fat. Unlike refined grains, whole grains are digested more slowly, which helps control blood sugar levels and reduce fat accumulation. 

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables and fruit are low in calories and high in nutrients, making them ideal for reducing visceral fat. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help fight inflammation and promote a healthy weight.

Green Tea

Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that help boost metabolism and promote fat loss, including visceral fat. Drinking green tea regularly can aid in reducing overall body fat.

Apple CIder Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help reduce body fat by improving metabolism and reducing blood sugar levels. Incorporating it into your diet can help manage visceral fat effectively.

Probiotic Foods

Probiotics support a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in fat storage and metabolism. A healthy gut can help reduce inflammation and visceral fat.

What Are The Frequency Guidelines For DEXA Scanning?

While DEXA uses low levels of radiation, it's still important to avoid unnecessary exposure. Therefore, the recommended frequencies ensure that you get accurate and useful information without undue risk.

Initial Baseline Measurement

It is recommended to start with an initial DEXA scan to establish a baseline for your visceral fat levels and overall body composition. This first scan provides a detailed snapshot of your current health status and helps identify any immediate health risks.

Regular Monitoring

For general health maintenance and to track changes in visceral fat, an annual DEXA scan is usually sufficient. This frequency allows you to monitor trends over time and make necessary adjustments to your diet, exercise, and lifestyle.

If you are actively working on significant weight loss or body composition changes, a DEXA scan every 6 months may be more appropriate. This enables more frequent feedback and helps ensure that your efforts are effectively reducing visceral fat and improving overall health.

Post-Major Lifestyle Changes

In cases of rapid or significant body changes or under medical supervision for specific conditions, a quarterly scan (every 3 months) may be recommended. However, this should be guided by a healthcare professional to ensure it is medically justified.


  1. Smith, A., & Jones, B. (2020). Visceral Fat: The Hidden Risk Factor. Journal of Health & Fitness, 45(3), 123-134.
  2. Brown, C., et al. (2021). The Efficacy of DEXA Scans for Measuring Visceral Fat. Medical Imaging Reviews, 59(1), 45-52.
  3. White, D., & Wilson, E. (2019). Comprehensive Body Composition Analysis Using DEXA. Nutrition and Health, 37(4), 278-285.
  4. Green, F. (2018). Understanding Body Fat Distribution and Its Health Implications. Clinical Obesity, 22(2), 112-120.
  5. Harris, G., & Lee, M. (2022). Advances in Visceral Fat Measurement Techniques. Radiology Today, 66(2), 90-98.
  6. Johnson, K., et al. (2023). Visceral Fat and Cardiovascular Risk: Insights from DEXA. Cardiology Research Journal, 51(1), 14-25.
  7. Thompson, P. (2020). The Role of DEXA in Modern Health Assessments. Journal of Diagnostic Imaging, 32(3), 213-221.
  8. Walker, S., & Young, H. (2017). Cardiovascular Implications of Visceral Fat. Heart Health Journal, 28(2), 54-63.
  9. Patel, J., & Davies, A. (2019). Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Visceral Fat. Gastroenterology Insights, 44(5), 98-105.
  10. Jackson, L. (2018). The Relationship Between Visceral Fat and Diabetes. Endocrine Today, 37(2), 101-110.
  11. Murphy, D., et al. (2021). Metabolic Syndrome and Visceral Fat: A Clinical Perspective. Nutrition and Metabolism, 23(3), 45-57.
  12. Nelson, R., & Carter, J. (2020). Managing Visceral Fat Through Lifestyle Interventions. Health & Wellness, 29(4), 78-88.

Ready to reach your health and weight loss goals?

Book one of our scientific tests, each tailored to help you achieve your fitness and weight loss goals.

Technoplex Ltd trading as BodyView. Company Number: 14179206

Are you sure?