Visceral fat is a pressing concern because it is linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. What’s more worrisome is that you cannot see it – it is stored near vital organs such as the liver and intestines. It could tempting to discount its importance, which would be a fatal error.
Fortunately, you can attack visceral fat by making sensible dietary decisions.
Much emphasis is placed on specific dietary components but what is less understood is the regularity of eating patterns and its impact on belly fat.
Research suggests you should pay attention to how often you eat because intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce visceral fat.
Intermittent fasting has gained traction in recent years for its proven ability to aid weight loss.
According to an article published in the journal Obesity Reviews, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting.
One popular method involves 24-hour fasts once or twice a week.
Another consists of fasting every day for 16 hours and eating all your food within an eight-hour period.
In a review of studies on intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting, people experienced a four to seven percent decrease in abdominal fat within six to 24 weeks.
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There’s some evidence that intermittent fasting, and fasting in general, may not be as beneficial for women as for men.
A study published in the Nutrition Journal found intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction was effective for visceral fat loss and cardiovascular protection in obese women.
Calorie restriction plays an integral role in reducing visceral fat.
Harvard Health says to avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, or both.
“They are calorie-dense, and they slide down all too easily,” warns the health body.
Instead, you should opt for fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products.
Harvard Health explains: “Your calories won’t add up as fast if you favour healthy fresh foods, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products instead of fast food, whole-fat dairy products, fatty meats, regular soda, and sugary or fatty desserts and snacks.”
It adds: “Even though you’ll take in fewer calories, you’ll get more healthful nutrients. If you add fish, in fact, you’ll have an ideal diet.”
Another essential tip
In addition to mastering your dietary approach, it is imperative to engage in regular exercise.
In fact, the benefits of regular exercise have been observed independent of diet.
A study of 30 obese young men used a four-month program of intensive exercise without any dietary restrictions.
Although the subjects consumed more than 3,000 calories a day on average, they shed about 26 pounds each.
Best of all, they lost abdominal fat preferentially. The average waist circumference declined by 14 percent and the average hip circumference by eight percent.
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