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I'm a Doctor and Here's How to Lose Visceral Fat

Five ways to lose visceral fat, according to doctors.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Visceral fat is not fat that you can see or touch. Instead it's deep inside your belly and can cause serious health issues. "Visceral fat, often called the hidden fat, is located inside the abdominal area, wrapped around organs like liver and intestines, and makes up around 10% of total body fat, unlike the subcutaneous fat which is stored under the skin. Visceral fat makes the waist line bigger and very harmful for overall health causing heightened risk  of various chronic diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even  some types of cancers and  Alzheimer's disease," says Dr. Ani Rostomyan, a Doctor of Pharmacy, Holistic Pharmacist and Functional Medicine Practitioner who specializes in Pharmacogenomics and Nutrigenomic. 

She adds, "Visceral fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, more frequently occurs in men than women and may even affect people with normal body weight. Visceral fat can be more inflammatory, can narrow blood vessels and contribute to high blood pressure as well. If your waist circumference is 80 cm or more for non pregnant women and 94 cm for men there may be visceral fat accumulated in the abdominal area and risk of metabolic syndrome is higher."

So how do you get rid of fat you can't see? Eat This, Not That! Health talked to doctors who revealed five ways to lose 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.


Intermittent Fasting

intermittant fasting

According to Dr. Pana Ninan, PharmD, BS, "Intermittent Fasting (IF) or time-restricted eating is a great way to allow the gut time to heal and rest from the digestion phase but also helps you lose visceral fat. An example of time-restricted eating is eating for an 8 hour window of the day and allowing your body the time to use its own stores of energy (fat) for 16 hours. You must still consume a normal amount of healthy whole food calories for the benefits. If you restrict caloric intake too much your body will actually decrease its metabolic rate." 


High-Intensity Interval Training

woman doing crunches on her carpet

"High-intensity interval training or HIIT is a workout where you do short bursts of high intensity efforts," Dr. Ninan explains. "This type of workout will have your body using your fat stores as energy versus the normal carbohydrates.  Burning those fat stores is key to losing the visceral fat. You will also continue to burn more calories post-workout and increase your metabolism." 

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Eating More Fats

healthy fats avocado nuts seeds egg cheese

Dr. Ninan says, "Healthy fats actually increase our body's metabolism and allow for better absorption of certain vitamins. Including them in our meals helps us stay satiated longer. Ensure they are healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, coconut oil, salmon, and chia seeds." 

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Stop Smoking

girl in casual clothes smoking an electronic cigarette

Dr. Daniel Boyer of Farr Institute states, "Smoking makes metabolism less effective, by reducing the body's metabolic rate. This makes it harder for the body to burn calories properly, forcing the storage of 'the excess' that would have been burned as visceral fat. Quitting smoking increases your metabolic rate, ensuring that all the recommended calories taken are all burned, leaving no extra for storage."

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Get More Sleep

woman sleeping

"Lack of sleep reduces insulin sensitivity, making it hard for your body to fully utilize blood sugars," Dr. Boyer explains. "This leads to blood sugar buildup, which is finally stored as visceral fat in several fat deposits, including in the liver, muscles, or in your abdomen. In addition, sleeping has been linked to increased hunger hormones and also suppresses the fullness hormone. This can lead to overeating, associated with extra calorie intake, contributing to more visceral fat."

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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