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Visceral Fat Loss Tricks That Really Work

Experts explain why visceral fat is so dangerous and how to get rid of it.

Visceral fat is embedded deep within our abdomen and it wraps around our vital organs. You can't see or pinch it, but chances are it's there. It's not talked about enough, but it's problematic because it can cause severe health issues. While it can be a challenge to get rid of, it's not impossible. With a few lifestyle changes you can shed visceral fat and help avoid major health issues. Eat This, Not That! Health talked to experts who explained why visceral fat is so dangerous and visceral fat loss tricks that work. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Why Visceral Fat is Harmful


Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson, aka "The VibrantDoc", a recognized leader in functional medicine and author of the new self-care book Vibrant: A Groundbreaking Program to Get Energized, Reverse Aging, and Glow states, "Visceral fat is the most dangerous kind of fat because it's packed around internal organs and intestines, and can impede their function. It can even infiltrate muscles and organs, like your liver and heart. It is mostly located in and around the abdominal area, but it's not the kind of fat you can pinch, because it's below the muscle, not just under the skin, like subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is a stressor on the body and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, even apart from other risk factors like smoking, alcohol intake, lack of exercise, and excess weight. One large study from 2017, of nearly 3000 people with obesity, showed that visceral fat was even more dangerous for women than for men, in terms of cardiometabolic risk factors, meaning it was more associated with heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and kidney failure."


How to Measure Visceral Fat

Doctor measuring mans chest for bmi overweight fat

Dr. Yasmin Akhunji, a board-certified endocrinologist with Paloma Health explains, "There's no perfect way to measure how much visceral fat one has, and BMI is unfortunately not a reliable predictor of the above. A more accurate measure of body fat distribution is a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). This gives us a detailed picture of body composition by breaking down body weight by fat, bone, and lean tissue mass. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, healthy body fat percentage changes by age and gender. For example, people aged 20 to 39- women, in particular, should aim for a body fat percentage of 21 to 32%, while men should aim for 8 to 19%. These percentages change and increase as age increases. I recommend working closely with your doctor to determine a healthy body fat percentage based on your sex, age, and height."

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Burning Visceral Fat

Man can't close belt on his pants due to big stomach.

Dr. Stephenson says, "Fortunately, when you burn fat, your body prioritizes visceral fat—it burns dangerous visceral fat first. Subcutaneous fat is more stubborn, and although you might not like its jiggly, dimpled appearance, it's much less dangerous, so burning visceral fat first is just one of many signs that your body knows what it's doing."

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Cut the Sugar

Say no to drinking soda stop drinking sugar

According to Dr. Stephenson, "The calories from sugary foods that you don't immediately burn tend to be stored as fat, and can add to visceral fat. In fact, diets high in sugar, even when they aren't high in calories, seem to result in more visceral fat storage. Sugar-sweetened beverages in particular seem to correlate with visceral fat—the more soda you drink, the more visceral fat you are likely to have. Cutting sugar, especially if it helps you get into a calorie deficit (meaning you burn more calories than you eat), can help get rid of visceral fat more efficiently than exercise alone."

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Do Cardio

woman jumping rope outside

"Although all exercise can burn off dangerous visceral fat, cardio trumps weight training, according to a systematic review of many different research studies on how different exercise regimes (without dieting) influence visceral fat," Dr. Stephenson explains. "After analyzing 87 articles totaling 852 subjects, the review found that moderate to intense aerobic exercise effectively reduced visceral fat in both women and men, and continued to do so even after 12 weeks. Cardio also preferentially burns off liver fat and total abdominal fat. However, a study comparing exercise only to exercise combined with reducing calories, or reducing calories alone, showed that exercise without any calorie reduction was much less effective at reducing visceral fat, so for best results, combine cardio with portion control."

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Lift Weights

woman lifting weights

Dr. Stephenson says, "A few sit-ups and push-ups in the morning probably won't do too much for visceral fat, but a vigorous weight-lifting routine can increase your metabolic weight and burn visceral fat. A 2015 study showed that the combination of cardio and weight training was more efficient at burning visceral fat than cardio alone."

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Get a Handle on Stress

stressed woman

While we may not be able to completely get rid of stress, we have to learn to manage it, says Sarah Bourdet RDN, a dietitian nutrition coach. "Many of us can't change the stresses in our lives, but we can learn how not to let them cause us mental stress and exhaustion.  Start with deep breathing- Count of three-five in, hold for a count of two, and slowly breath out for a count of 5.  Do that a couple of times when you are feeling stressed, and see how the feeling changes." 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 about Heather