Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, is the most lethal form of fat found in the body. Its infamous reputation comes from its positioning in the body – it is stored within the abdominal cavity, close to important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. Everyone carries a certain amount of visceral fat but storing large quantities can hike your risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease.
Reducing your intake of particular food groups can have a pronounced impact on visceral fat.
Many studies have shown that low-carb diets are more effective at reducing visceral fat than low-fat diets.
In an eight-week study including 69 overweight men and women, scientists found that people who followed a low-carb diet lost 10 percent more visceral fat and 4.4 percent more total fat than those on a low-fat diet.
Additionally, the ketogenic diet, which is a very low-carb diet, may also help reduce visceral fat, research suggests.
Ketogenic diets drastically reduce carb intake and replace it with fat. This can put you in a natural metabolic state called ketosis.
A study including 28 overweight and obese adults found that those who followed a ketogenic diet lost more fat, especially visceral fat, than people following a low-fat diet.
Interestingly, they did so while eating roughly 300 more calories per day.
In addition to eating a healthy diet, exercise is integral to losing visceral fat.
According to Harvard Health, the starting point for bringing weight under control in general, and combating abdominal fat in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity.
The health body says to do at least 30 minutes per day and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day to control weight and lose belly fat.
Examples of moderate intensity activities:
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- Riding a bike
- Doubles tennis
- Pushing a lawn mower
“Strength training may also help fight abdominal fat,” adds Harvard Health.