Visceral fat is stored within the abdominal cavity as well as around important internal organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines, which is why too much visceral fat is deemed harmful. Storing higher amounts of visceral fat is associated with increased risks of a number of health problems including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. Visceral fat can become very active, producing its own hormones and proteins. The body has less control of these proteins and hormones and so dysregulation of inflammation and obesity can occur and contribute to the diagnosis of various metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, such as type II diabetes, obesity and even dementia.
So what can you do to get rid of visceral fat?
There are a number of ways to reduce high levels of visceral fat, simply and effectively, either through diet or supplementation.
One such research-based supplement is inulin, an insoluble fibre which bypasses absorption in the small intestine and therefore reaches the large intestines unabsorbed.
Bacteria in the gut feed on the inulin and produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs promote the loss of visceral fat through increased fat metabolism, using the stored fat as a source of energy.
While inulin can be found naturally in foods such as chicory root, dandelion root, asparagus, bananas and wheat, these foods would need to be consumed in extremely large quantities to realise these benefits.
A simple and effective alternative would be to incorporate adequate amounts of inulin into your daily diet with a supplement such as Lepicol, which contains 30 per cent inulin alongside psyllium husk fibre and a multi-strain probiotic.
Other ways to help reduce visceral fat include:
Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates, such as simple sugars and processed foods. Opt for water and herbal teas instead of sugary soft drinks. Cook foods from scratch rather than relying on processed food which are generally high in sugars and low in nutrients.
Avoiding stimulants such as alcohol, smoking and caffeine, as these can cause sharp rises in blood sugar levels.
Increasing your intake of good quality proteins such as grass fed meats, poultry, wild fish, legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds. Protein can help to regulate blood sugar balances throughout the day.
Increasing fibre in the diet. Consume at least five vegetables and two fruits each day as well as soluble fibres such as oats.
Increasing exercise, both cardiovascular and weight training exercise have been shown to be beneficial.
Subcutaneous fat is considered normal – in fact everyone has some level of it.
The amount of subcutaneous fat you develop depends on genetics as well as lifestyle factors such as diet.
It’s not considered as dangerous as visceral fat and can help protect muscles and bones, but quite often (especially when it appears as love handles) it’s unwanted.
So what can you do to get rid of it?