Visceral fat is considered harmful because it is stored in the abdominal cavity by many vital organs, including the liver, pancreas and intestines. The greater the amount of visceral fat that a person stores, the more they are at risk of certain health complications, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A diet high in saturated fat and not exercising can lead to the accumulation of visceral fat, so some simple changes to the diet and becoming more active can help reduce it. But with so many different diets and types of exercise to choose from, which one is best?
When it comes to dieting, eating a low calorie diet has proven to be effective in getting rid of visceral fat.
One study compares popular diets involving high-fat, abdominal exercises and low-calorie diets.
Of the three diets, the low calorie diet proved to be the best.
Participants following this type experienced a 1
As part of the study, participants controlled the portions they ate using hand and finger measurement guides.
When it comes to exercise, it has been shown that performing more aerobic exercise helps to release visceral fat.
A number of studies have even shown that aerobic exercise can help people lose visceral fat even without dieting.
An analysis of 15 studies in 852 people compared how well different types of exercise reduced visceral fat without dieting.
Researchers have found that moderate and high-intensity aerobic exercise is most effective in reducing visceral fat without dieting.
But they also note that aerobic exercise should be combined with healthy eating to be more effective in targeting visceral fat
Examples of aerobic exercise are walking, running, swimming and cycling.
When it comes to specific foods that should be eaten as part of a low-calorie diet, evidence suggests that eating more protein is a great long-term strategy for reducing belly fat.
Protein has been shown to reduce hunger by 60%, help boost metabolism and help a person eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.
One study found that protein was associated with a significantly reduced risk of belly fat accumulation over a period of five years.
The study also shows that refined carbohydrates and oils are associated with increased amounts of fat in the abdomen, but fruits and vegetables are associated with reduced amounts.
Here are six protein foods (both vegetable and animal sources) to consider, including in your diet:
- Cashew nuts
- Eggs [Salmon