Visceral fat (or belly fat) is fat stored deep in the abdomen surrounding organs like the liver and intestines. You don’t have to be overweight to have visceral fat — even people with a normal BMI can have deep belly fat. “Body mass index takes your whole body into account, and what we really care about is your waistline, which is fat in your abdomen, near your vital organs.” says Michael Roizen, MD. “Fat in your hips or legs is usually storage fat and not metabolically active, but fat in your stomach causes inflammation, especially in those organs. The best measuring device is actually a measuring tape. Put it on your belly button, wrap it around yourself and measure – this number should be half or less than half your height. Here are five proven ways to get rid of visceral fat and keep it off. Read on – and don’t miss these to protect your health and the health of others Sure signs you already had COVID.
Research shows that regular exercise can be very effective for reducing belly fat — no gym membership required. “Although many people walk to improve their fitness, others may walk with the goal of improving body composition by reducing excess body fat and increasing muscle mass.” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT. “Combined with a healthy diet, walking can have a direct impact on body composition, especially when it comes to stubborn belly fat.”
Losing fat — belly fat in particular — means you need to adjust your diet to make it healthier — just don’t crash diet, it could backfire. “Instead, focus on choosing the right portions of healthy foods 80 to 90% of the time.” says Nicole Hopsecger, RD, LD. “That, coupled with a healthy exercise routine, can lead to long-term weight loss success. And it leaves some leeway to enjoy the occasional “fun food” without feeling guilt or resentment… Hunger is a normal response to cutting calories. Eat less, your fat cells release more hunger hormones, which increases your appetite. High-protein, high-fiber eating plans are best for controlling your hunger and appetite.”
If you don’t get enough sleep, shrinking belly fat will be incredibly difficult. “Sleep. Too little is bad.” says Harvard Health. “A five-year study found that adults under the age of 40 who slept five hours or less a night accumulated significantly more visceral fat. But too much isn’t good either — young adults who slept more than eight hours also added visceral fat.” This relationship was not found in people over 40.)”
Stress is directly linked to belly fat, experts warn. “Chronic stress raises your cortisol levels, which encourages the formation of belly fat,” says Howard LeWine, MD. “Make time every day for activities that help you relax.”
Sugar is highly flammable and should be avoided when trying to lose fat. “Choose complex carbohydrates and high-fiber foods over simple carbohydrates found in sugary foods and beverages, particularly those containing fructose.” says dr LeWine. “Of all carbohydrates, fructose is the most likely to increase waist size as it can trigger cravings and overeating.”
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for bringing science and research-backed information to a wide audience. Continue reading
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