The best and easiest ways to lose visceral fat

Being confident in your own body is the goal of many of us. Having washboard abs, a toned tummy and a flat stomach is the ultimate dream for fitness. Also, the overall wellness it gives to our physical and mental health. But to achieve this, you have to really lose your visceral fat.

With the best ways in lifestyle and diet, you can definitely lose a huge amount of visceral fats in your body. Of course, kudos to some people who have favourable genetics, as they also play an important part in one’s body type. 

What is visceral body fat?

Visceral body fat is also known as ‘hidden’ fat, where it is deeply stored inside the belly and wrapped around your body organs, which include the liver and intestines. It generally makes up around one-tenth of all the fat stored in the body. On the other hand, fat that is stored underneath the skin is called subcutaneous fat, which you can feel and is normally visible, opposite to visceral fat [1]. 

Moreover, visceral fat makes a person’s body appear to have an apple shape. It also produces more chemicals and hormones than subcutaneous fat that are harmful to your body. In fact, even people with thin bodies can have visceral fat that can cause a wide range of health risks. Also, visceral fat is considered the most common in men compared with women [2]. 

Photograph; Towfiqu Barbhuiya/Pexels

Ways to know if you have visceral fat

To know if you have visceral fat, you can simply measure your waist or through the Body Mass Index (BMI). Your waist circumference is the best indicator of the amount of fat deep inside your belly and around your organs. Generally, women are at risk of chronic diseases when their waist circumference is 80 cm and above, while for men, it is 94 cm and above. These sex-based measurements don’t apply to children and pregnant women. 

What are the best ways to lose visceral fat?

1. Vigorous exercise

Nothing beats exercise and workout in reducing or losing your visceral fat. Regular exercise can impede the accumulation of visceral fat and even stop it from coming back. It is advisable to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 5 days a week. Some moderate exercises you can do are brisk walking, jogging, biking and running. You can also slightly advance your exercise to remove your stubborn visceral fat, such as walking briskly or jogging at an incline position on a treadmill. The ultimate goal is to increase your heart rate.

Now, let’s be specific. Reducing your tummy measurement requires weight control and particular exercise. Some exercises you can do are sit-ups, planking and crunches. You can do these workout routines for 30 minutes daily [3].

Averaging at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week – or at least 15 minutes a day – can greatly increase your life expectancy

2. Consistent healthy diet

Exercising and working out have no effects without pairing it with a consistently healthy diet. You must be mindful of your portion size and the type of food you intake. Some foods you must start adding to your meals are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. 

There is no magic in reducing your visceral fat. You must be consistent in your healthy diet and be disciplined in your daily food schedules. There is no other way but to be strict with the food you consume. The good news is that when you decrease your weight on any type of diet, your belly fat usually lessens first. 

One way to manage your consistent diet is by keeping a daily food diary. You can practise self-monitoring through this diary. You can simply write the meals you consumed on paper or jot them down digitally on your phone. There are certain apps as well that you can use to automatically give you insights. 

3. Eat whole foods rich in fibre and protein

Having a consistently healthy diet is good and eating whole foods rich in protein and fibre is another great way to lose visceral fat. Fibre can help in managing weight and promoting weight loss. In fact, people who eat 10 grams of soluble fibre every day build up less visceral fat even if they do not change anything in their diet. The best sources of fibre are almonds, berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, oats and prunes. 

Another type of food you must include in your meals regularly is proteins. Proteins are considered a powerful nutrient, especially if you are trying to manage your weight, as they can keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. Plus, protein can help you lose weight as following a high-protein diet takes more energy for your body’s digestion, resulting in burning body fat. The best sources of healthy protein are chicken, turkey, legumes, nuts, whole eggs, fish and dairy products. 

Consuming excess amounts of refined grains like white bread and white rice can cause more visceral fat. Additionally, a study in 2018 showed that too much consumption of fast food, such as pizza and fried chicken, can lead to the accumulation of belly fat and, worse, obesity. You must limit your intake of foods high in trans fat, refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods with added sugars. Additionally, you must stop eating refined grains and start eating whole grains [4]. 

However, take note that avoiding certain foods is just a temporary solution to your weight management. The best way is to truly embrace the diet in your everyday lifestyle and health choices. 

4. Avoid sugary, refined foods and drinks 

Let’s dig deeper into certain foods and drinks that can cause visceral fat. Carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, specialty coffee drinks and sodas are all linked to weight gain because of their excessive added sugar content. Alcohol is another sugary drink that you must lessen in consuming. Drinking more than seven times per week can increase the risk of weight gain and obesity. 

Furthermore, beer is high in calories and carbs, so heavy drinking can also cause additional visceral fat. To substitute these unhealthy drinks, you can try switching to flavoured seltzers or adding fruit and herbs to your regular water. During your exercise or workout, you can also replenish your minerals through electrolyte packets rather than drinking sugary sports drinks. 

5. Drink plenty of water

Water can boost your metabolism to burn visceral fat. Simply adding lemons to your water can aid in weight loss, and you can also replace it instead of your regular soda intake. In a study made in 2008, an increase in water intake of about 34 ounces per day can help in losing weight for women. The participants reduced their weight by 4.4 pounds after 12 months [5]. 

Considering that up to two thirds of the human body is composed of water, its supply needs to be regularly replenished.

6. Getting enough sleep

Cliche as it may sound, but getting enough sleep is a must! Most especially, when you are trying to lose visceral fat. In fact, a study suggests that people who rendered 6 to 7 hours every night had gained less visceral fat within 5 years, in comparison with people who slept 5 or fewer hours per night or those who had 8 or more hours slept per night.

7. Stress management 

Stress management is another factor to consider in losing visceral fat. The way you handle stress can either help you or put your situation at its worst. You can try to relax with friends and family, follow the meditation or even get counselling to adopt a couple of ways to handle stress. 

8. Banish midnight snacking

Snacking can cause additional fat in your body. Eating habits in accordance with your body clock and natural circadian rhythms help reduce unnecessary fat. Having to eat early in the day can help in making your body process the food later in the day–meaning more time to digest your food intake. This is in relation to your hormonal response and insulin, which are both responsible for clearing glucose from the blood earlier in the day. Hence, you better banish snacking in the middle of the night [6]. 

9. Carefully consider your carbs

Carbohydrates are top of the major culprits in growing your waistline and adding visceral fat. Too much consumption of carbohydrates and processed foods can be the primary contributor to the accumulation of abdominal fat. You must consume at least 25 to 30 grams of fibre a day to help in removing carbs in your body. Some good sources of carbs combined with fibre are vegetables, beans, legumes and whole grains. 

How fast can you realistically lose visceral fat? 

The key to realistically losing your visceral fat is the management of your diet, stress factors, sleep, exercise and food intake. Having all these factors in good harmony can help you lose weight; however, this process is not done overnight. You can remove your visceral fat after 4 to 6 months of consistent healthy habits; however, if you have not incorporated these healthy habits into your new lifestyle, you will just eventually accumulate unnecessary fat again. 

Moreover, a healthy weight loss is around one to two pounds per week. Establishing a sustainable diet and finding a set of foods that work for your body are also recommended. 

[1] https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-to-reduce-visceral-body-fat-hidden-fat 
[2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/abdominal-fat-and-what-to-do-about-it 
[3] https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth-about-belly-fat 
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6196377/ 
[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18787524/ 
[6] https://www.insider.com/guides/health/diet-nutrition/how-to-lose-belly-fat 

Photograph: Ratchanee Sawasdijira/Shutterstock
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