The Best Ways to Shrink Visceral Fat, Says Science
Visceral fat is dangerous fat that wraps around the organs deep inside your abdomen. Unlike subcutaneous fat, which you can touch and feel, visceral fat is not always easy to spot and it can be hard to tell how much of it you might have. Belly fat is linked to a plethora of serious health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes—if you're worried about how to get rid of your visceral fat, here's what the experts recommend. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs COVID is Hurting You—Even After a Negative Test.
Is My Belly Fat Dangerous?
It's easy to let the extra pounds creep up, especially during a pandemic—but when clothes start feeling uncomfortably tight, it's time to pull out the tape measure. "You can use a tape measure to get a good idea of whether you've packed on too many pounds around your abdomen," says Julie Chen, MD. "Place the tape measure around your belly button and level the sides at the top of your hip bones. For men, a waist measurement of 40 inches is a sign of too much visceral fat. For women, a waist measurement of 35 inches is considered high risk."
Want to get rid of that dangerous belly fat? Regular exercise is non-negotiable. "Studies have shown that you can help trim visceral fat or prevent its growth with both aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) and strength training (exercising with weights)," Harvard Health advises. "Spot exercises, such as sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles but won't get at visceral fat. Exercise can also help keep fat from coming back."
Ditch the Sugary Beverages
If removing abdominal fat is a serious health goal, sugary drinks need to be removed from your diet. "There is evidence linking sugar-sweetened beverages with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes," says Caroline S. Fox, M.D., M.P.H. "Our message to consumers is to follow the current dietary guidelines and to be mindful of how much sugar-sweetened beverages they drink. To policy makers, this study adds another piece of evidence to the growing body of research suggesting sugar-sweetened beverages may be harmful to our health."
Not a fan of cardio? Try strength training instead. "A lot of people think that if you want to lose weight, you need to go out and run," says Dr Mandy Hagstrom, exercise physiologist and senior lecturer at UNSW Medicine & Health. "But our findings show that even when strength training is done on its own, it still causes a favorable loss of body fat without having to consciously diet or go running."
Prioritize Your Sleep
"Sleep more, stress less," says Trinh Le, MPH, RD. "It's easier said than done, but in order to take care of your physical body, you have to take care of your mental state. Sleep loss and stress can sabotage your health and fitness goals, so learn more about getting a quality night's rest and use meditation or yoga to calm your mind. Remember, it's not just about your health; it's about your happiness, too." And to live your healthiest life, don't miss this life-saving advice I'm a Doctor and Here's the #1 Sign You Have Cancer.