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The #1 Best Cure for Visceral Fat, Say Experts

This strategy stands above the rest.

Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, is the type of fat that lies deep within the abdomen, affecting and potentially damaging crucial organs like the liver, pancreas and intestines. When it comes to getting rid of visceral fat, a well-rounded approach is necessary. But some strategies are more effective than others, and one stands above the rest. Read on to find out the #1 best cure for visceral fat—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Get Enough Quality Sleep

Woman Asleep In Bed As Sunlight Comes Through Curtains

Good news: One of the essential steps in blasting belly fat doesn't require much effort at all. Researchers at Wake Forest University found that dieters who slept five hours or less every night put on 2.5 times more belly fat than people who got adequate sleep. It's believed that poor sleep increases cortisol, the stress hormone that encourages the body to hold on to belly fat, and disrupts the balance of leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that regulate hunger. Experts say you should aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep a night. 


Reduce Stress

Relaxed happy young man resting having nap on comfortable couch breathing fresh air

Not only does excessive stress cause the brain to pump out more cortisol, which tells the body to hold onto fat around the abdomen, it can also encourage you to "stress eat" high-fat and sugary comfort foods. That combination is a quick shortcut to gaining belly fat, says a study published in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

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Consume a Healthy Diet

Young woman in the kitchen eating slice of red pepper.

To trim your waistline, clear your diet of foods belly fat loves: Sugar-sweetened drinks, fast food, and processed foods. All contain added sugar or simple carbs that convert to sugar in the body. Sugar causes fat cells to mature faster, specifically in the visceral fat. Ditch the empty calories of alcohol while you're at it. Instead, eat plenty of lean protein—studies have found protein can help melt belly fat—and satiating fiber, like that in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

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exercise lunges

Dieting alone won't reduce belly fat; exercise is crucial. "Exercise seems to work off belly fat in particular because it reduces circulating levels of insulin—which would otherwise signal the body to hang on to fat—and causes the liver to use up fatty acids, especially those nearby visceral fat deposits," says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., director of clinical and research physiology at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Moderate physical activity combined with strength training seems to work best for burning visceral fat. 

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Prioritize Weight Loss

woman on scale weight loss

The easiest way to reduce visceral fat is to lose weight. "Weight loss alone can effectively reduce visceral fat," says W. Scott Butsch, MD, an obesity medicine specialist with the Cleveland Clinic. "By losing 10% of your body weight, you may lose up to 30% of your body fat." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael