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How You Can Drop Your Visceral Fat

Why visceral fat is so dangerous and how to lose it, according to experts. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Many people don't know about visceral fat—an underlying health issue not talked about enough, but it's fat located deep in your belly that's wrapped around your vital organs. It's very different from the subcutaneous fat that you're able to pinch and visibly see because it causes a slew of health problems like increased blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and more. Eat This, Not That! Health talked with Juliet Root, an Onyx NASM certified trainer, who explained why it's important to lose visceral and how to drop it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Why it's Important to Lose Visceral Fat

Doctor talking with an obese woman and measuring her.

According to Root, "When compared to subcutaneous fat, or fat that's just beneath the skin, visceral fat is more likely to cause serious medical risks. It's possible that visceral fat can cause inflammation and a narrowing of the blood vessels. Narrowing blood vessels will increase your blood pressure, which could lead to other medical complications. There is also a relationship between visceral fat and insulin resistance, which can make it harder to lose weight."


Aerobic and Anaerobic Training

couple exercising on mats indoors

Root says, "When it comes to cardio, there is an ongoing debate about whether low intensity for longer is better or high intensity for less time. I say do both! Your body's ability to burn fat is impacted by a caloric burn and both styles of training can provide this. You can focus on both aerobic training through sustained cardiovascular exercise and anaerobic training, which requires high-intensity intervals of exercises done in a shorter amount of time. Both are effective in helping your body burn excess calories and fat."

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Reduce Your Caloric Deficit


"The best way to lose any kind of fat, including visceral fat, is to reduce your daily calorie consumption below your TDEE or total daily calorie expenditure," Root explains. "The higher your daily caloric deficit, the faster you will lose fat. When your body lacks the calories from outside sources to sustain itself, it will begin to process your fat stores into energy. Even though it's not possible to target visceral fat specifically, it can be easier to lose visceral fat because of its proximity to the liver."

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Eating Whole and Organic Foods

Woman cooking vegetables in the kitchen

Root states, "Focus on eating organic foods that come from nature. Your body's ability to digest and assimilate nutrients from unprocessed foods yields a better chance at optimizing your metabolic system. Particularly, plant-based foods that are higher in fiber require more energy to digest, reducing your food cravings and your body's caloric intake."

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How to Tell You're Losing Visceral Fat

Overweight woman in tight clothes at home is trying to fit into tight jeans.

"Because you cannot see visceral fat on the outside, it can be hard to detect, even with a waist circumference measurement," Root says. "Even those with a seemingly flat stomach can carry fat around their organs. This is sometimes referred to as TOFI (thin on the outside, fat on the inside). Unlike Bio-impedance scales and skin fold calipers that test the body fat that you can see, only CT and Dexa scans can separate subcutaneous fat from visceral fat for an accurate reading. There are many universities and clinics that offer these services."

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
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