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Ways to Lose One Inch of Visceral Fat

Doctors reveal five ways to lose visceral fat and explain why it's so dangerous. 
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

We all know about the belly fat that we can see and pinch, but chances are you don't know about visceral fat, an underlying health issue not talked about enough. Visceral fat is hidden deep within your stomach and it's wrapped around your vital organs and it's usually a result of an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. It can cause severe health problems like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and some cancers. Getting rid of visceral fat is important to living a healthy lifestyle and experts talked to Eat This, Not That! Health about how to lose it and why it's so dangerous. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Stay Active

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Dr. Ani Rostomyan is a Doctor of Pharmacy, Holistic Pharmacist and Functional Medicine Practitioner says, "Keep moving! A sedentary lifestyle is a big contributor to visceral fat. Aerobic exercise, brisk walking, cycling and strength training at least 30 minutes a day."

Latonya Fore, MSN, APRN-CNP and obesity and weight management specialist adds, "Sedentary lifestyle has been shown to increase visceral fat and obesity. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week, such as a brisk walk and resistance training (weight-lifting) twice a week will help with visceral fat. Unfortunately, crunches and sit-ups only tighten the abdominal muscles, not the fat."

2

Limit Alcohol Intake

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Dr. Anthony Puopolo, the Chief Medical Officer of the telemedicine company Rex MD and a board-certified physician explains, "In most cases, the human body ends up converting alcohols into sugars, and later storing them as fats. While harder alcohols contribute less to weight gain, beer–which is made from fermented grain, hops–is incredibly high in carbohydrates and can contribute to weight gain when ingested at a high frequency. While alcohol consumption is not necessarily bad for visceral fat gain, frequent alcohol consumption will contribute to visceral fat, and should be limited significantly in a fat loss plan."

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3

Swap Saturated Fats for Monounsaturated Fats

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Fore says, "Saturated fats, or fats typically solid at room temperature, are foods such as butter, cakes, bacon, and sausage. Research has shown monounsaturated fats to reduce the inflammatory response in visceral fat foods high in saturated fats contribute to inflammation. Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, almonds and avocados."

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4

Eliminate Added Sugars

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"Avoiding added sugar is one very helpful way of getting rid of visceral fat, added sugar comprises 50% fructose, which turns into fat by liver if consumed in unhealthy amounts," Dr. Rostomyan states. 

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5

Eat More Fiber

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According to Dr. Rostomyan, "Soluble fiber has also shown benefits reducing visceral fat—it slows down the movement of digested food to intestines, suppresses appetite and promotes healthier gut microbiome and promotes weight loss."

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6

Why Visceral Fat is Unhealthy

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Functional and Integrative Medicine Doctor Aaron Hartman states, "Visceral fat is unhealthy in many ways. First, visceral fat is very inflammatory. When you think about fat, it's the largest endocrine or hormone-producing organ in our body and it creates a large number of hormones. Visceral fat is the most inflammatory of the different kinds of fat. Visceral fat is found around our organs like our hearts, arteries, vessels, etc. So, the inflammation is not only greater but closer to those places that it can damage. For this reason, when you look at fat loss, you have to think about losing that visceral fat – the belly fat that you develop or the fat around your heart that you can't see, the epicardial fat because you want to lower your risk for fatty liver disease, diabetes, and heart disease."

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7

Why it's Hard to Lose Visceral Fat

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Dr. Hartman explains, "It's hard to lose visceral fat because that is what you tend to lose last. When you're dieting and exercising, you tend to use up sugar in the blood first, then the storage from a sugar as a glycogen, and after that, the subcutaneous kind of fat under your handles, back of your arms, and thighs. And then once you start utilizing that, you'll start using your visceral fat. This requires people to do things like interval fasting or timed eating where they don't eat for at least 12 to 14 hours a day, which most Americans do not do. So, the result is they tend to constantly store visceral fat versus lose it. Eating three meals a day makes it almost impossible to lose visceral fat because what you have to do is fast for about 8 to 12 hours before you even start using fat stores…and closer to 14 before you start dipping into visceral fat stores to use for energy."

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8

Why Surgery isn't the Answer

Dr. Martin Jugenburg explains, "It is so important to patients to understand the difference between internal (visceral) and external (subcutaneous) fat. When patients request that I remove their internal fat with liposuction, I have to tell them that the only way to remove visceral fat is through diet and exercise. Visceral fat is the fat that is stored in your abdominal cavity, surrounding all of your vital organs. A plastic surgeon cannot access that fat without putting you at extreme risk. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that you can grab or pinch, this can be removed through procedures such as liposuction or surgery." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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