Sugar can be a killer, so what is TOFI and are you at risk?

Did you know that high intake of sugar, especially of the fructose and processed varieties, may lead to increase of visceral fat?

This is the type of fat that is laid down around internal organs, and for many people is unseen or felt until a chronic health condition is discovered or internal scans reveal it.

Visceral fat is associated with:

  • Insulin resistance and blood sugar instability – may lead to diabetes
  • Elevated inflammation – the precursor to many degenerative conditions, including dementia, heart disease, diabetes and accelerated aging
  • High LDL and triglyceride levels
  • Obesity and stubborn weight gain especially around the midsection
  • Increased cardiovascular disease risk

Also known as TOFI, or Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside, this describes those people who may look and feel healthy on the outside, but under the surface they may be carrying large deposits of metabolically damaging fats around vital organs – such as the heart, liver and digestive system.

TOFI people may identify with:

  • Following a low fat diet but never losing weight
  • Choosing muesli and fruit with low fat milk/yoghurt for breakfast
  • Loving juices over eating whole foods fruit and vegetables
  • Craving sugars and a sweet fix for that 3pm energy slump
  • Moderate intake of alcohol – such as 1 or 2 glasses of wine each day

How to tell if you have visceral fat?

The best test to determine your internal fat levels is to run a DEXA scan which measures different densities of tissue in the body, mainly looking at bone, muscle, water and fat. This can identify different levels of fat deposited in the body and where they are located.

A bio-impedance body scan can also be useful to determine muscle, water and fat densities, and can provide excellent benchmarks to work towards on your fat loss and weight management journey.

Using blood tests to look at liver enzymes, cholesterol and triglyceride ratios, blood glucose measures, as well as overall inflammatory markers such as CRP and ESR can also point towards visceral fat deposits and general health.

What can you do?

If you are interested in learning more about your visceral fat risk or your current levels of inflammatory fat, Nutritionist Karen Ball can help you with identifying your current risk factors through a bio impedance scan, selective blood tests ordered through your doctor, and a thorough naturopathic consultation.

Article by Nutritionist Karen Ball

 

Karen Ball
Karen Ball