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Visceral Fat Shrinking Secrets That Really Work

Experts weigh in on how to get rid of visceral fat and explain why it's so dangerous. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Visceral fat is a hidden health issue not talked about enough and most people don't even realize they have it. Visceral fat isn't something that you can see or touch because it's located deep in your abdomen. It wraps around your vital organs causing serious health problems like stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and more. Anyone can have visceral fat, even if you're thin, and it's usually caused by several factors like stress, lack of sleep, poor diet and not enough exercise. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explain who to get rid of visceral fat and how to tell if you have it. 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 Dangerous

Overweight woman in tight clothes at home is trying to fit into tight jeans.

Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD and co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health and Happiness states, "Visceral fat is fat that is found beneath the abdominal wall, surrounding internal organs. All fat cells, and particularly visceral fat, produce inflammatory cytokines, which increases low-level inflammation and the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic illness. Visceral fat plays a role in the production of angiotensin, which causes blood vessel constriction and higher blood pressure."


​​Ketogenic Diet

keto diet

Dr. Jorge Luis Green, the board-certified bariatric and general surgeon for Renew Bariatrics explains, "If you're considering going ketogenic, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet. It forces the body to use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This can be beneficial for people who are struggling with obesity, diabetes, or heart disease. The ketogenic diet can be difficult to follow, especially in the beginning. You may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headache, and nausea. It's important to stick with it and to be patient. The benefits of the ketogenic diet are worth it!"


Eat More Soluble Fiber


Dr. Green states, "Soluble fiber can help you lose weight and improve your digestion. It can also help prevent the symptoms that often occur at the beginning of the diet. Try eating at least 25 grams of soluble fiber each day. You can find soluble fiber in foods such as oats, barley, and legumes."


Eat More Foods with Polyphenols

eating fruit

Ward says, "Research suggests that eating foods rich in polyphenols is linked to less visceral fat. Polyphenols are found in berries and other fruits, nuts, vegetables, coffee, and tea as well as many other plant foods." 

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happy woman jogs along trail

Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD is a senior dietitian at UCLA medical center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding school of public health, and author with Cambridge university Press, of the new book, RECIPE FOR SURVIVAL says, "Aerobic exercise (not just spot exercises like abdominal crunches)  enough that you're losing weight and building muscle. ​if you're burning enough energy/calories from exercise and healthy eating, you'll lose fat everywhere, including (eventually) from visceral fat too. It won't be the first fat you lose, but you will eventually lose it if you're eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight with exercise."

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How To Tell How Much Visceral Fat You Have

Nutritionist inspecting a woman's waist using a measuring tape to prescribe a weight loss diet

Green reveals, "One way to tell if you have a lot of visceral fat is if you have a large waist circumference. Another way to tell is if you have a high level of triglycerides or cholesterol. If you're concerned that you may have too much visceral fat, talk to your doctor. He or she can perform tests to help determine whether you're at risk for health problems caused by excess visceral fat. For women, your risk of chronic disease is increased if the waist circumference is 80 cm or more and for men 94cm or more." 

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Why Visceral Fat Isn't Talked About More

Body fat analysis with electronic bioelectrical impedance scale at weight loss clinic.

According to Dr. Alex Spinoso, MD with Genesis Lifestyle Medicine, "Visceral fat is not talked about more because it is only 1/10 of the fat in the body. Most of the time we as humans focus on looking from the outside in and a patient's visual representation showing if they are overweight, that's what doctors are mostly focused on when they should be more focused on the visceral fat. Most people outside the medical and health community don't know about visceral fat because they are not educated about visceral fat. The other issue is that most of the time when it comes to losing weight, patients' focus is on looking good rather than worrying about the inside of their body and how their metabolism, hormone levels, vitamin levels, and their bodies are functioning."

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