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Surefire Ways to Reduce Your "Inner Belly Fat" 

Experts reveal four ways to get rid of visceral fat. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Most people don't know it, but visceral fat is a major health concern that can be hard to spot. It's fat hidden deep in your belly that wraps around your organs. A visceral fat cell is unlike any other kind of cell—fat cell or otherwise—in your body. Visceral fat doesn't even come from the same set of stem cells as other fat; it has evolved in an entirely different way. And as it gains greater purchase inside you, it spits out greater and greater levels of adipokines—a series of biochemical substances that do terrible things to your health, and lead to serious issues like type 2 diabetes, some cancers, stroke and more. Several factors cause visceral fat like poor diet, trans fats, stress, lack of sleep and not enough exercise. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explained why visceral fat is so dangerous and how to get rid of it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


How Visceral Fat Leads to Serious Health Problems

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

Dr. Alex Spinoso, MD with Genesis Lifestyle Medicine says, "Visceral fat is dangerous because high levels of visceral fat has been shown to increase your risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, type two diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, and many other diseases. Visceral fat causes an increase in oxidative phosphorylation, which increases inflammation in the body's tissues and organs. This can lead to narrowing of blood vessels, which increases your blood pressure and can damage organs."


Manage Your Stress

stressed out woman

Kyle Risley, Founder & CEO of Lift Vault states, "When medical experts talk about body fat,they're usually talking about two key types: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is stored under the skin, and is most of what we see that jiggles and shows up as cellulite. Visceral fat is deeper in the body, and hard to measure without imaging tools like DEXA scans or BodyPod volume measurements. Visceral fat is often much more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, because it takes up the same area as our organs, which means it can interfere with body processes. Despite the dangers of visceral fat, losing it is the same process as subcutaneous fat. Being in a calorie deficit and burning more fuel than you take in is the best way to use fat stores. However, the best way to fight visceral fat is to actually reduce your stress. Visceral fat accumulates due to high levels of stress thanks to the stress hormone cortisol. If you reduce your stress, you can help reduce your body's perceived need for visceral fat, which will help make losing it much easier."

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Lower Insulin Levels

Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Maleen Avery, sport and weight loss MD and co-founder of Rebel Medicine explains, "One of the best ways to reduce visceral fat is to lower insulin, the fat storage, and inflammation hormone. There are several ways to do this, but the best one is to reduce high insulin-producing foods, for example, refined carbohydrates made from white flour or sugar. As insulin levels drop as a result of lowering the amount of carbohydrates in the diet, the body will be able to transition from fat storage to fat burning, including burning visceral fat."

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Eat More Soluble Fiber


Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD and co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health and Happiness says, "One study that examined the accumulation of visceral fat over a 5-year period found that eating foods with soluble fiber protected against visceral fat, independent of a person's BMI. Foods rich in soluble fiber include oats, legumes (black beans, chickpeas, etc.), lentils, broccoli, pears, berries, and sweet potato, among other plant foods."

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Increase Intake of Greens and Lean Proteins

mixed greens salad with pears and pumpkin vinaigrette
Blaine Moats/Eat This, Not That!

Bess Berger, Women's health RD, Nutrition by Bess explains, "We want to avoid processed foods including pastries and candy as much as possible. For example, if you usually eat vegetables a few times a week and head to the vending machine daily, try avoiding the chips or cookies and swap in carrots and cucumbers with hummus or guac a couple times this week. We want to inch in healthier choices and push out the unhealthy choices for a better balance and kicking out that visceral fat. Exercise and do both cardio and resistance training, which help melt away visceral fat."

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