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How to Burn Visceral Belly Fat, Say Experts

Why visceral fat is so dangerous and five ways to get rid of it. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

While most people know about "belly fat"—the fat that you can see and pinch around your waistline—many don't know about visceral fat, which is much more dangerous because it causes severe health issues. Bess Berger, a women's health registered dietitian Nutrition by Bess tells Eat This, Not That! Health, "Visceral fat is the fat that is around your organs. We usually focus on the fat that's on the outside of our bodies since it's seen most earlier, but visceral fat is likely more dangerous. Most notably, visceral fat is linked to increased rates of heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol (the bad kind!), high blood pressure and overall breathing problems. As a women's health dietitian, visceral fat comes in to play when working with women with PCOS and who are going through menopause. Both PCOS and menopause encourages fat to be stored in the midsection which correlates with visceral fat." ETNT Heath also spoke with personal trainer, Lance Goyke, MS, CSCS, who explains five ways to burn visceral fat. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Eat More Protein


According to Goyke, "Protein is a bit of a wonder drug when it comes to fat burning. Protein increases our metabolism and keeps us feeling full for longer. This helps reduce our caloric surplus by burning more calories and ingesting fewer calories."


Add More Veggies to Your Diet

womaneating healthy meal

Goyke says, "Vegetables are dense in vitamins and minerals, but low in calories. They are the best way to eat until you're full without having excess calories stored as fat. Vegetables help reduce our caloric surplus, but also supply nutrients that keep our bodies functioning in tip-top shape."

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10,000 Steps Per Day

woman jogging in the city by water

Goyke reminds us that, "Movement is great for the mind and body. Walking at least 10,000 steps per day helps us stay active and keeps our metabolisms revving. Try going for a walk next time you're on the phone or need some time to think through a problem at work. This helps reduce caloric surplus by burning more calories."

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20+ Minutes of Sweating Every Day

Exhausted female runner overtraining and sweating after training on hot summer at beach. Fitness sweaty woman on workout.

"Walking is a good first step, but higher activity levels can burn calories at nearly 10x the rate of walking," says Goyke. "More calories burnt means less caloric surplus to be stored around the organs. But on top of that, exercise also gives the calories another place to go. Eating a large meal after a day of inactivity forces all your carbs, fats, and proteins to be stored as fat. Fatiguing the muscles, however, makes room to store energy in the muscles and the liver. These are the two best places to store energy."

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Manage Stress Levels

woman puts hands on head, stressed, busy at work

Goyke explains, "We've thoroughly established that a caloric surplus makes us store fat, but why does it get stored around the organs instead of under the skin? The answer is hormones. Low testosterone in men, low estrogen in women, and persistently high cortisol all increase this visceral fat. Exercise and good nutrition help reverse these hormonal effects, but reducing psychological stress is necessary to fully change our hormonal profile. Start by getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather