Ask the expert

Simon

How can I reduce visceral fat?

During a routine health check arranged by my company, I had two new tests as well as BMI, body fat and chloresterol; these were total body water (55%) and visceral fat (12). The tester said that these all were within normal range apart from the last, which was borderline high.

The notes provided didn't cover visceral fat and actions to control it. Please could you explain what it is and suggest measures to reduce it, preferably in a form I could give to a trainer.

18 March 2021

Well done for taking such a proactive approach to your health.

Visceral fat is fat that is stored inside your body around the internal organs such as your liver, kidneys, pancreas and intestines. Although you have been told that your visceral fat level is borderline high you are right to want to take action. Research has shown that storing higher amounts of visceral fat can be associated with an increase in risk of several health problems including type 2 diabetes.

The good news is that there is plenty that can be done to reduce levels of visceral fat using a mix of healthy eating and physical activity.

In terms of healthy eating, it would be helpful to try to reduce your carbohydrate intake. Too many simple carbohydrates can stimulate insulin sensitivity, which in turn can lead to excess fat formation. Therefore, a lower carbohydrate intake of preferably mainly complex carbohydrates, combined with plenty of protein, vegetables and healthy fats, can often help reduce excess fat within the body.

It has also been shown that regular exercise, particularly strength training, which raises the body’s Basal Metabolic Rate (which in turn ensures the body burns off fat), combined with cardio exercise, such as walking, jogging and  cycling can be helpful in fat reduction.

Finally, try to avoid stress, which causes cortisol to be secreted. Cortisol receptors are primarily located in the abdominal region and there can be an increased likelihood of fat being deposited around the internal organs in the abdominal cavity under the influence of chronic stress.

I do hope this information has gone some way to answering your questions and please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.

Answered by Health at Hand team.

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