Visceral fat is the most infamous of all the fats because it is located near vital organs, such as the liver and intestines. It falls under metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Longevity therefore hinges on your efforts to keep visceral fat at bay.
If you are looking to lose visceral fat, eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential.
Some of this advice will seem obvious – eat plenty of fruit, veg and whole grains and shun sugary items, such as sweets.
Some dietary decisions are less clear-cut, however, and seemingly healthy items can pose hidden health risks.
Fruit juice, for example, is a sugary beverage in disguise.
In fact, even unsweetened 100 percent fruit juice contains a lot of sugar.
Nutritional data shows that an eight ounce (250 ml) of apple juice and cola each contain 24 grams of sugar.
Even more alarming is the fact that the same amount of grape juice packs 32 grams of sugar.
Although fruit juice provides some vitamins and minerals, this is offset by the fructose it contains.
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Fructose, a type of simple sugar, can drive insulin resistance and promote belly fat gain, research shows.
What’s more, it’s another source of liquid calories that’s easy to consume too much of, yet still fails to satisfy your appetite in the same way as solid food, one study points out.
Healthy drink swaps
To curb visceral fat, you should swap out fruit juice for vegetable juice.
Although fruit juice has been linked to weight gain, drinking vegetable juice may have the opposite effect, research shows.
In one study, adults who drank 16 ounces of low-sodium vegetable juice while following a low-calorie diet lost significantly more weight than those who did not.
What’s more, the vegetable juice group significantly increased their vegetable consumption and significantly decreased their carb intake – two factors that are important for weight loss.
Other tips for reducing visceral fat
Exercise offers a potent weapon against harmful belly fat and certain forms of exercise are more effective than others.
Studies have shown that you can help trim visceral fat or prevent its growth with both aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) and strength training (exercising with weights).
“Spot exercises, such as sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles but won’t get at visceral fat,” according to Harvard Health.
Exercise can also help keep fat from coming back.
In a study at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, dieting women lost an average of 24 pounds and reduced both visceral and subcutaneous fat (the fat you can pinch), with or without aerobic or strength-training exercise.
In the following year, those who maintained their exercise programs — a modest 40 minutes twice a week — maintained their visceral fat loss, while those who didn’t exercise or abandoned their programs showed a 33 percent average increase in visceral fat.
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