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Shrink Visceral Fat Using These Proven Methods

It’s time to say bye-bye to your belly fat.

Visceral fat (or belly fat) is fat stored deep in the abdomen, surrounding organs such as the liver and intestines. You don't have to be overweight to have visceral fat—even people with a normal BMI can have deep abdominal fat. "Body mass index takes into account your whole body, and what we really care about is your waist; that is, fat inside your abdomen, near your vital organs," says Michael Roizen, M.D. "Fat in your hips, or legs is usually storage fat and not metabolically active, but fat in your belly causes inflammation, especially in those organs. The best measuring device is actually a tape measure. Put it at your belly button, put it around yourself and measure – that number should be half or less than half of your height." Here are five tried and tested methods of getting rid of visceral fat, and keeping it off. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Just Start Walking

Man and woman walking

Research shows that regular exercise can be highly effective in lowering belly fat—no gym membership required. "Although many people walk to improve fitness, others can walk with a goal of improving body composition by reducing excess body fat and increasing muscle mass," says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, CPT. "When combined with a healthful diet, walking can have a direct impact on body composition, especially when it comes to stubborn belly fat."


Be Sensible About Your Diet

healthy plate

Losing fat—especially belly fat—means making adjustments to your diet to make it healthier—just don't crash-diet, because it could backfire. "Focus instead on choosing the right portions of healthy foods 80 to 90% of the time," says Nicole Hopsecger, RD, LD. "That, paired with a healthy exercise routine, can lead to long-term weight loss success. And it leaves some wiggle room to enjoy 'fun foods' occasionally without feeling guilt or resentment… Hunger is a normal response to reducing calories. When you eat less, your fat cells release more hunger hormones, which increases your appetite. Higher-protein, high-fiber meal plans are best for controlling your hunger and appetite."


Sleep Is a Weight-Loss Activity

sleep earlier

If you're not getting enough sleep, shrinking belly fat will be incredibly difficult. "Get your sleep. Too little is bad," says Harvard Health. "A five-year study found that adults under age 40 who slept five hours or less a night accumulated significantly more visceral fat. But too much isn't good, either — young adults who slept more than eight hours also added visceral fat. (This relationship wasn't found in people over age 40.)"


De-stress As Much As Possible

Woman meditating

Stress is directly linked to belly fat, experts warn. "Chronic stress raises your cortisol level, which stimulates the formation of abdominal fat," says Howard LeWine, M.D. "Make time every day for activities that help with relaxation." 


Limit Carbs and Sugar

orange soda

Sugar is highly inflammatory and should be avoided if you're trying to lose fat. "Choose complex carbohydrates and high-fiber foods over simple carbs found in sugary foods and beverages, especially those containing fructose," says Dr. LeWine. "Of all carbs, fructose may add the most inches to waistlines as it can trigger cravings and overeating."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan
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