Visceral fat is deemed harmful because of where it’s stored in the body. It’s found in the abdominal cavity next to many vital organs such as the stomach, intestines and kidneys. For this reason, having too much visceral fat can increase the risk of serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease. So what can you do to get rid of it?
Because visceral fat build-up can be caused by a poor diet – for example too much sugar and carbohydrates – it’s important to make some simple diet changes.
Eating a diet with plenty of protein has been found to be a great long-term strategy for losing this type of fat.
Studies have demonstrated how eating protein can reduce food cravings by 60 per cent, boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.
‘Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet’ is just one paper that demonstrates these findings.
Some evidence has also demonstrated how protein is effective working against belly fat.
One study, titled ‘Quality protein intakes inversely related with abdominal fat’, published in BMC Medicine, showed the amount and quality of protein consumed was inversely related to fat in the belly.
This means people who ate more and better protein were found to have less belly fat.
Here are some good sources of meat protein, according to British Nutrition Foundation:
- Chicken breast (grilled without skin) 32g of protein per 100g
- Whole milk (3.3g of protein per 100g)
- Chicken eggs (12.5g of protein per 100g)
- Salmon (grilled) (24.2g of protein per 100g)
These are good sources of vegetarian protein:
- Tofu (soya bean steamed) (8.1g of protein per 100g)
- Red lentils (7.6g of protein per 100g)
- Almonds (21.1g of protein per 100g)
Other diet changes you should consider making to help get rid of visceral fat are:
- Avoiding sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks
- Cutting carbs from your diet
- Eating foods rich in fibre
Exercise has also been found to be an effective way to reduce visceral fat.
But while many may assume abdominal exercises are effective at getting rid of visceral fat, research suggests you should avoid these.
Spot reduction, which is a term used for losing fat in one spot, is not possible, so doing endless amounts of ab exercises will to make you lose fat from the belly.
The most effective exercise for getting rid of visceral fat is believed to be aerobic exercise, like walking, running and swimming.