Visceral fat can increase serious health problems because it’s stored in the abdominal cavity and surrounds vital organs, such as the liver.
If a person has a high level of visceral fat they are at increased risk of developing life-threatening conditions like heart disease.
One of the causes of visceral fat is poor diet, so what foods should you be eating?
Many studies have found low-carb diets are an effective way to get rid of visceral fat.
One study, titled ‘Effects of diet macronutrient composition on body composition and fat distribution during weight maintenance and weight loss’ found people on a low-carb diet lost 10 per cent more visceral fat and 4.4 per cent more total fat that those on a low-fat diet.
The study took place over an eight-week period and participants included 69 overweight men and women.
Cutting down on sugar can also help, according to BMI Healthcare.
Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain and contribute to high levels of belly fat.
It explains: “A good first step would be to remove sports drinks, sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks, and foods sweetened with sugar. The drinks might be more obvious place to start, as there are often clear ‘diet’ versions available with artificial sweeteners (though still or sparkling water would be an even healthier alternative).
“Check the label – low-fat options, for example, often contain added sugar to compensate for the change in taste and texture.”
Eating lean protein can help build and maintain muscle mass alongside exercise.
It adds: “The other benefit is that protein is more satisfying – you’ll feel fuller for longer, making it less likely you’ll snack on unhealthy foods between meals.”
Good sources of protein include turkey, tofu, nuts, lentils and pulses, oily fish, eggs and milk.
Harvard Health Publishing, part of Harvard Medical School, recommends three other ways to get rid of visceral fat.
If you smoke it’s best to stop. It says: “The more you smoke, the more likely you are to store fat in your abdomen rather than on your hips and thighs.”
Get your sleep
Too little is bad. It explains: “A five-year study found that adults under age 40 who slept five hours or less a night accumulated significantly more visceral fat.
“But too much isn’t good, either – young adults who slept more than eight hours also added visceral fat. (This relationship wasn’t found in people over age 40.)”
Mind your mood
Make sure to de-stress. It says: “In the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation, middle-ages women who showed more hostility and had more depressive symptoms also had more visceral fat – but not more subcutaneous fat.
“In other studies, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol were associated with a buildup of visceral fat even in lean women.”