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Surefire Ways to Reduce Your "Inside Fat"

Belly fat can be dangerous.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Not all fat is created equal, and although excess fat isn't the greatest development anywhere in the body, in one area it can be downright hazardous. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, develops in the abdominal area and releases toxins and hormones into nearby vital organs like the liver, pancreas and intestines, potentially damaging them and increasing the risk of conditions like diabetes and cancer. If you have too much abdominal fat, reducing it is one of the best things you can do for your health. These are surefire ways to reduce this dangerous fat that clings to your insides. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Work Out This Way

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If you think belly fat is best reduced by spending hours on cardio, think again. To burn abdominal fat, "Full-body strength training workouts should have more of a priority over aerobic work," says personal trainer Tim Liu, C.S.C.S. "This is because strength training burns more calories than cardio, builds lean muscle, and elevates your metabolism." Each strength-training session should include these four types of exercises: squat/hinge, push, pull, and lunge, he adds.

2

Get Enough Sleep

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Not getting enough sleep—meaning less than seven hours a night—is associated with belly fat growth and makes it tougher to lose, experts say. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that inadequate sleep is a trigger for belly fat formation, actually redirecting body fat to the abdomen.

3

Go to Bed At This Time

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In a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers found that people who went to bed after 10pm had a 20% higher risk of being obese or having a large waistline. In people whose regular bedtimes were between 2 and 6am, the risk was almost double. Scientists think late bedtimes might increase the production of stress hormones, which tell the body to put on and preserve belly fat.

4

Reduce Stress

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The popular conception is that stress goes right to your head and your heart, but headaches, high blood pressure, and heartburn aren't its only complications—uncontrolled stress can cause you to end up with a gut as well. Feelings of stress cause the brain to produce more cortisol, the "stress hormone" that instructs the body to hold on to fat around the abdomen. "A study of stressed out middle-aged Swedish men showed that those with the highest cortisol levels also had the biggest beer bellies," says the American Institute of Stress.

5

Drop Sugar-Sweetened Drinks and Alcohol

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Liquid calories are a major contributor to belly fat: Sodas, juices, nut milks, energy drinks—anything which is sugar-sweetened can pack on the pounds in this area. So can alcohol. Liquid sugar seems to accelerate the development of belly fat by spiking blood sugar. Alcohol's empty calories encourage fat formation while slowing down the body's ability to burn fat. 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.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael