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Visceral Fat Mistakes You're Making

Don't make these five major mistakes when losing visceral fat, experts warn.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Most people who have visceral fat don't realize they have it because it's a hidden health issue not talked about enough. Visceral fat is located deep in your belly and it's wrapped around your vital organs. It can cause severe health issues like stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and more. 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 tells Eat This, Not That! Health, "Everyone has some visceral fat, and this is normal and necessary. However, many people have excess visceral fat today, likely due to the easy availability of high-sugar foods, the epidemic of chronic stress, the ubiquity of sedentary lifestyles, and the constant temptation to overeat, all of which are part of modern life." Losing visceral fat is very possible with the proper diet and working out, but here's five ways not to reduce visceral fat, according to experts we spoke with. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Don't Focus Just on Weight Loss

Woman measuring waist with tape standing in front of mirror.

Dr. Steve Hruby, a Doctor of Chiropractic and founder at Kaizen Progressive Wellness says, "People often make the mistake of only focusing on weight loss, when in reality, they should be concentrating on reducing body fat percentage. Reducing body fat percentage is the only way to target visceral fat specifically. Focusing on weight loss alone can actually cause you to lose muscle mass, which can actually make your body composition worse and lead to an increase in visceral fat."


Don't Starve Yourself

young woman holding bottle of green juice
Shutterstock / RossHelen

"Another common mistake is not eating enough," Dr. Hruby reminds us. "When you're trying to lose weight, your body needs fewer calories than it would when you're maintaining your weight. However, you don't want to go too low with your calorie intake, as this can actually cause your body to go into starvation mode and hold on to the fat stores it has. A good rule of thumb is to reduce your calorie intake by about 200 calories per day and take it to 500 with days or one or two weeks passing."

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Don't Target Just One Area


Kristin Carlino, a Registered Dietitian with Jersey City Medical Center explains, "The biggest mistake most people make is thinking they can target specific areas when trying to lose weight and reduce fat. Some people carry their weight very differently (i.e., their stomach vs. their hips). You will lose the fat in the part of your body where you store the most of it. Also, fat above the muscle is easier to lose than visceral fat. Visceral fat is stored inside the belly, wrapped around the organs, and it's much harder to lose. An overall calorie reduction will help people lose both visceral and subcutaneous fat. Different strategies can help make calorie reduction easier. No matter what an individual's diet preference is (keto vs. high protein, low carb, for example), it all comes down to calorie deficit to achieve weight loss and reduce fat."

RELATED: Habits Secretly Increasing Your Abdominal Fat, Say Physicians


Don't Try to Lose Visceral Fat Overnight

Couple of female friends jogging on the city street under the city road overpass.They relaxing after jogging and making fun.Embracing each other. Walkers

Aaron Guyett, CSCS Director of Education with Living Fit states, "One mistake people often make when trying to lose visceral fat, is they try to do too much too soon. The hare never wins in Aesop's fable, and it is no different here. There are no quick fixes to losing visceral fat. Consistency in nutrition and exercise will always prevail, it just might take longer than you want."

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Sweat it Out, But Not This Way

woman jogging

Working out is key in reducing visceral fat, but according to Guyett, "Another mistake people make when trying to lose visceral fat is wrapping the torso to sweat out the fat. This may increase the perspiration of the area where the visceral fat is, but it will never reduce the amount of visceral fat in and around the gut. This is done through a steady approach to nutrition and exercise. Perspiration is only going to help you lose water weight, which will be added back to your weight as soon as you have your next drink."

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