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How to Reverse Visceral Fat Buildup, Say Experts

Halt belly fat in its tracks with these science-backed tips.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Visceral fat—also known as belly fat—is fat stored deep inside the abdomen, surrounding organs such as the liver and intestines. "Abdominal fat isn't merely an aesthetic issue," says Ayala Hubert, MD. "Fat in and around abdominal organs is active metabolically, much more so than the fat under our skin, and it poses additional risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, above and beyond the risk seen with just having some extra weight. Fat around our internal organs acts like an endocrine gland, causing insulin resistance and interfering with fat metabolism." Worried about visceral fat? Here are five proven methods to get rid of it, fast. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Measure Your Waist

shred belly fat

Use a tape measure to find out if you're in the belly fat danger zone: Anything over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men could signal concerning amounts of visceral fat. "It's a crude index, but it's not a bad idea to measure your waist over time to watch for changes," says gastroenterologist Samuel Klein, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.



Couple of female friends jogging on the city street under the city road overpass.They relaxing after jogging and making fun.Embracing each other. Walkers

Regular exercise can help fight belly fat, experts say. "While crunches will help strengthen your abdominals and core muscles, they're not enough in isolation to burn calories," says personal trainer Luke Hughes. "Burning calories through cardio exercise like this helps to burn belly fat, particularly when we operate at a calorie deficit. Try adding star jumps and mountain climbers into your workouts."



woman relaxes while doing yoga by the water

Meditation is a fantastic method of stress-relief, which can help reverse belly fat. "It's easier said than done, but reducing and limiting your stress and stress hormones is key to controlling elevated stress cortisol levels," says Dr. Jeffrey Donatello, DC. "What calms you down and makes you feel relaxed? Find time to do more of that. In stressful situations, give yourself a few minutes to meditate. Planning time for yoga, activities with loved ones, reading, art, and more can ensure that you get to unwind."


Follow the Mediterranean Diet

leafy greens

Enjoying a healthy, nutritious diet is incredibly important for banishing belly fat. "You can preferentially target belly fat by eating a healthy Mediterranean diet with lots of fruits, veggies, nuts and unsaturated fats, and less sugar and carbs," says Dr. Hubert. "It might work better than a low-fat weight-loss diet with the same number of calories."


Be Mindful of Alcohol

Sad woman drinking wine at kitchen.

Cutting back on alcohol can help reverse belly fat, experts say. "Alcohol releases hormones that fool your body into thinking that you are in the market for stored fat. Insulin levels spike in response to the sugar in the wine, which puts you into fat storage mode," says holistic nutritionist and author Carly Pollack, CCN, MS. "Since alcohol is considered a toxin to the body, your adrenal glands release cortisol as a natural stress response, which has been linked to that unfavorable spare tire you feel you can't get rid of despite your best efforts."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan