Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, can prove life-threatening because it clings to vital organs in the body, such as the liver and intestines. This can disrupt vital functions, spurring on the development of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, you can reduce visceral fat by improving your diet.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrition & Food Science, black garlic reduces visceral fat.
This is the key finding of a study performed on rats with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NFLAD).
NFLAD – a condition characterised by a buildup of fat in the liver – is associated with visceral fat.
Different doses of black garlic were administered to rats over four weeks to examine the impact it may have on visceral fat.
Rats given three different doses of black garlic for four weeks did not reduce body weight but significantly reduced visceral fat.
What’s more, the higher the dose of black garlic, the greater the improvement in visceral fat.
What is black garlic?
Black garlic is fermented fresh garlic.
“This process gives their cloves their dark, black colour and also makes them taste sweet and tangy – kind of like balsamic vinegar,” explains Holland and Barrett.
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Although the effect needs to be repeated in human studies, there are a host of health benefits associated with black garlic that suggests the herb holds promise.
An animal test conducted in Korea showed that black garlic can also reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
High cholesterol is a heart disease marker that is associated with visceral fat.
What’s more, several studies have looked at the effect black garlic has on blood sugar levels, especially when obesity and diabetes are present.
Evidence from animal studies suggest that it may be useful in preventing complications from diabetes and improving vascular and metabolic issues caused by a diet high in sucrose.
Sucrose is a common type of sugar.
General tips to reduce visceral fat
If you want to reduce your belly fat, you’ll need to burn more calories (energy) than you consume, and eat the right kinds of food.
According to Bupa, eating at least five portions of fruit and veg each day, and including higher-fibre starchy foods in meals, can help you to achieve this.
Other dietary tips include:
- Have some reduced-fat dairy or soya drinks fortified in calcium
- Eat more beans, pulses, fish and eggs
- Eat small amounts of unsaturated oil
- Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
- Avoid adding salt or sugar to your meals.
“And finally, cut out sports drinks, sugar sweetened drinks and other foods that have a lot of added sugar in them,” advises Bupa.
“Be aware that low-fat options might have high amounts of added sugar in them.”
“Regular physical exercise – at least 30 minutes a day – can help to reduce belly fat,” it adds.
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