Most of the fat in your body is harmless, and some are even healthy (like fats around legs, arms, or buttocks). Healthy fats are mostly subcutaneous fat and have almost no impact on your health.
But, unfortunately, the fats around your belly aren’t the same as every other part. Fats around the belly are mostly visceral fats.
Visceral fats are the fats stored around your internal organs like the liver, kidneys, stomach, and intestine (organs located in your abdominal cavity).
Such fat is also called active fat due to the reason that they can increase health risks actively.
Let’s breakdown some of the most crucial health aspects related to visceral fats and how you can get rid of visceral fat.
Visceral Fats Impact On Your Health
According to a study, high visceral fats are an indicator that you are at an increased risk of having cardiovascular disease.
Visceral fats are also known to lower body sensitivity towards insulin. Reducing insulin sensitivity leads to a low sugar level in the blood. They are thus increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Cytokines are the chemicals responsible for immune response. Visceral fats may also promote CYTOKINE release, which in turn can cause inflammation of your coronary arteries.
Thus coronary arteries disease is also a health concern you should keep in mind.
Sleep apnea is also a disease associated with visceral fat. Due to deep abdominal fat, diaphragm movement may get restricted, limiting your lungs’ expansion, causing sleep obstruction.
Other health risks due to extra fat around your waist include:
- Metabolic Syndrome
- The decrease in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
- High Blood Pressure
- Risk of Strokes
That’s all. Now that you have come to know visceral fats can have many health risks, let’s get to learn briefly how you can identify them.
Visceral Fats Diagnosis
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanning is the best way to diagnose whether you have visceral fat around your organs or not.
But, generally, people are short of consulting a physician to take an MRI or CT scan. Isn’t it?
So, the other way to diagnose visceral fats in your abdomen is by checking your waistline.
If you have a slim, trim waistline, it’s a good sign that you don’t have many visceral fats accumulated in your abdomen.
The standard cutoff set by NIH (National Institute Of Health) for men and women to identify people at risk of visceral fat-related diseases was:
|Gender||Circumference Of Waist|
|Male||Greater than 88cm (35 inches)|
|Female||Great than 102cm (40 inches)|
If your waistline exceeds the cutoff, then you need to worry and take action to reduce it.
Let’s dive into how to get rid of visceral fat in a few simple steps.
Actional Tips To Make Visceral Fat Go Away
Though there are many ways to lose pounds from your body, here are some hand-picked steps for you which work great. These are the steps you can get consistent with. Let’s learn them asap. (Though asap is poison for weight loss.)
1. Aerobic Workouts
Aerobic exercises (also known as cardio) is a very popular working method to reduce visceral fat in your body. They provide you an added benefit to keep your heart healthy.
Some popular aerobic exercise you can choose to go with include:
- Outdoor Cycling
- Running/Walking (Long Distance)
2. Modifying Your Dietary Habits
Saturated fats also increase the risk of getting heart disease. Along with it, they are also known to make you gain more weight. Hence, they have a close association with visceral fat build-up.
Some foods containing saturated fats include ghee, butter, salami (cured meat), cheese, sausage, and bacon. You can try replacing them with foods rich in polyunsaturated fats like flax seeds, fishes (like tuna, salmon, trout, and mackerel), soybean and corn oil, and sunflower seeds.
Hence, these dietary habits can help you reduce visceral fat storage within your body.
2. Try Increasing Fiber In Your Meals
Soluble fibers are already well known for reducing harmful cholesterol levels in the blood (1). Interestingly, they also help you with the visceral fat reduction process.
More fiber in your meal helps make the digestion process better by keeping food in the stomach for a longer time. They also help you eat less by suppressing your appetite.
These factors overall end up reducing visceral fat present in your body.
Some foods rich in fiber content include – beans, nuts, avocados, broccoli, berries, and popcorn.
3. Stepping Towards Lean Protein
Lean protein is a form of protein low in fat and provides better calories than carbohydrates or protein. They help you stay full for a longer time.
Lean can also help you to cut down or eliminate fatty food sources like processed meat and beef. At the same time, they also reduce your addiction to snacks and other sugary products.
These benefits from lean protein can help you reduce visceral fat to a great extent.
Food sources containing lean proteins are – legumes, yogurt, skinless chicken, lentils, beans, and low-fat cottage cheese.
4. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Reducing alcohol intake can be another good step towards getting rid of your visceral fat.
A study done on Korean adults proved men who drank more alcohol carried a larger waistline than others. And as you know by now, a larger waistline is an indication of more visceral fat.
Another study (1) done over 87 women found out that even women who took moderate amounts of alcohol had more visceral fat than normal women.
So, it is advised to limit your alcohol intake to prevent visceral fat from further increase.
5. Getting Proper Sleep
Proper sleep is always considered a more significant part of a successful healthy life. Studies also show that short sleep duration has a direct link with gaining belly fat.
An observational study done in 2014 on 293 people found an incredible link between visceral fat and proper sleep. People who slept between 7-8 hours a day developed roughly 28% fewer fats than those who only slept for less than 6 hours.
If you feel you are unable to get better sleep, increase magnesium in your diet. If you suspect to have sleep apnea, look for a doctor’s advice.
Hence, take plenty of sleep, and if not possible, sleep for at least 7 hours a day.
6. Try Reducing Stress
A stressful lifestyle can increase cortisol levels in your body. An increase in cortisol level can hurt your appetite, causing you to eat more.
Some tips to reduce stress are:
- Regularly Exercising Before Starting Your Day
- Practicing Stress Reduction Methods: Meditation, Yoga Or Tai chi
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Keeping A Positive Attitude Towards Every Challenge
That’s all. These steps are more than enough to get rid of visceral fat. They work wonders because each step is backed by science and not just a prediction.
What Causes Visceral Fat Build Up?
Now that you already have in mind how to get rid of your visceral belly fat let’s have an eye over its cause.
Are they worth knowing? Yes, they are! It’s because they can help you improve if you are making some mistakes. And even if you don’t have visceral fat accumulated now, you can take preventive measures to avoid them in the future too.
1. Genetic Makeup
Visceral fat, which your body already carries with itself, is a result of your genetic makeup. So, your gene can be responsible for some amount of visceral fat you are carrying with you.
2. Alcohol Consumption:
As mentioned in one of the steps above, a high alcohol intake can give you much visceral fat storage. This is why men are at a much higher risk of visceral fat build-up than women.
Alcohol consumption in high amounts also increases the risk of various health issues (like liver disease and inflammation). So, why not limit it.
3. Poor Dietary Habits
Bad dietary habits are a cause of visceral fat. Still, it’s the base for many health issues like stress, tiredness, and obesity.
Thus, follow a proper diet rich in nutrients and cut down excess carbs, fats, and other sugary foods as these foods have too little nutritional value.
Smoking is something that does more harm than good. Along with increasing risks of gum disease, tooth loss, and type 2 diabetes, they contribute visceral fat.
Research done on 283 people showed that smoking does not increase overall body fat but contributes to increased visceral and abdominal fat.
Thus, quit smoking. This would not only stop visceral fat storage growth but also will boost your overall health.
5. Lack of Physical Activities
Lack of physical activity is a great cause of visceral fat. If you don’t stay physically active, your body cannot burn the calories you take.
This may lead to an overall increase in body weight. Even if you are losing weight, an inactive lifestyle can make the process more challenging.
The Bottom Line
Visceral fat can prove extremely detrimental to your health. So, if you feel that you have some amount of it in your body, start following the tips mentioned above.
Still stuck with how to lose visceral fat queries? Do let us know by commenting down below. We will assist you with best expert advice possible.
Adarsh Kumar is the guy behind the growing Health & Wellness blog Health On Planet. He is a 5 years old veteran of the Health Industry with previous expertise as a health writer for several other blogs. He provides his readers with articles about surgery, nutrition, and wellness related aspects.