Not all fat is created equally and visceral fat, which lies deep below the surface, near vital organs such as the heart, liver and intestines, can be life-threatening. The fat’s proximity to vital organs means that carrying an excess amount of it hikes your risk of developing chronic complications, such as heart and liver disease.
To keep visceral fat bay, evidence backs limiting your intake of foods that lead to the harmful weight gain.
One of the primary culprits is high carb intake so cutting back on this food group can bring fat-burning benefits.
Studies have shown that diets with under 50 grams of carbs per day cause belly fat loss in overweight people, those at risk of type 2 diabetes and women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Lower-carb weight-loss diets may be better for losing visceral fat than higher-carb weight-loss diets, according to a study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.
You don’t have to cut out carbs completely to reap the benefits.
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Many sugar-sweetened beverages are made with high-fructose corn syrup instead of sugar, according to medical website LiveStrong.
Drinking beverages sweetened with fructose may increase visceral fat, reports an article published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The study involved overweight and obese people, so further research is necessary to determine whether fructose has the same effect in normal weight individuals.
To keep visceral fat at bay, try replacing these beverages with naturally calorie-free options such as water, tea or black coffee, advises LiveStrong.
Findings published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society also makes a case skipping diet fizzy drinks as this may be associated with increases in waist circumference, and thus potentially visceral fat as well.
In addition to dieting, exercising regularly also offers a robust defence against visceral fat gain.
Harvard Medical School recommends getting 30 to 60 minutes of cardio per day, such as brisk walking, swimming, running or aerobics, and notes that exercising with weights may also be helpful.
Evidence demonstrates the visceral fat-burning benefits of aerobic exercise.
For example, an analysis of 15 studies in 852 people compared how well different types of exercise reduced visceral fat without dieting. They found that moderate and high-intensity aerobic exercises were most effective at reducing visceral fat without dieting.