There are two types of fatty tissue: visceral fat and subcutaneous fat, and the former can be life-threatening because it lies close to internal organs such as the liver and intestines.
Carrying an excess amount of visceral fat can therefore kickstart a number of potential deadly mechanisms such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
High visceral fat storage has also been linked to breast cancer, colorectal cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
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It is therefore vital to keep the harmful belly fat bay and making healthy lifestyle changes such as improving your diet and exercise can help you to achieve this.
Following a healthy diet requires a multifaceted approach and one key aspect is to consume certain drinks that have been shown to reduce the harmful belly fat.
According to Mays Al-Ali, nutritionist at HealthyMays, here are three such drinks:
Apple cider vinegar
As Al-Ali explains: “Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, a compound that may stimulate weight loss by balancing blood sugar levels via decreasing insulin levels, improving metabolism, suppressing appetite and burning fat.”
Evidence supports this claim. A study in 144 obese adults demonstrated that drinking a daily beverage containing two tablespoons (30 ml) of vinegar per day resulted in significant reductions in body weight, waist circumference and belly fat compared to a placebo group.
However, it is wise to drink acidic beverages such as apple cider vinegar in moderation because they can erode teeth, cautions Al-Ali.
Try ginger & fennel teas
As Al-Ali points out, ginger is popularly used as a spice to add flavour to dishes and as an herbal remedy to treat a number of conditions such as nausea, colds and arthritis since it has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.
Human studies also shows that ginger tea also helps reduce appetite and increase calorie expenditure.
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For optimal enjoyment and health benefit, Al-Ali recommends using two tablespoons of ginger powder in hot water daily or simmer fresh ginger for 10 minutes to create a tasty tea with the addition of some freshly squeezed lemon.
Although fruit juice has been linked to weight gain and should be avoided, drinking vegetable juice may have the opposite effect, she notes.
In fact, in one study, adults who drank vegetable juice while following a low-calorie diet lost significantly more weight than those who did not.
It is also worth noting that the vegetable juice group significantly increased their vegetable consumption and significantly decreased their carb intake, two factors that are important for weight loss.
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Numerous studies have shown that low-carb intake is more effective at reducing visceral fat than low-fat intake.
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.
According to Al-Ali, Consuming whole vegetables whenever possible is the best choice for health due to the high amount of fibre that is lost in the juicing process.
“However, consuming a low-calorie vegetable juice can increase your vegetable intake and boost nutrients and antioxidants and may even help you lose weight,” she adds.
What fruit juice would she recommend?
“My fave green vegetable juice is organic kale, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger & mung bean sprouts – if I’m feeling like I need an iron boost, I add some beetroot but watch out as beetroot is higher sugar than the other vegetables in this mix,” says Al-Ali.
Drinks to avoid
You should avoid drinks with high amounts of refined sugar to curb the harmful belly fat, advises Al-Ali.
She explains: “When you eat or drink a lot of refined sugar the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat which gets stored as VAT in your belly, liver and other organs.”
“Liquid sugar is even worse as liquid calories don’t get ‘registered’ by the brain in the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugar-sweetened beverages, you can end up eating more total calories.”
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