Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat is the most serious form of fat because it clings to vital organs in the body, such as the liver and intestines. Storing too much visceral fat can hamper vital functions, raising your risk of chronic complications, can levaquin cause insomnia such as heart disease. Fortunately, improving your diet is a robust countermeasure against the belly fat, but what is less understood is the importance of timing.
The key finding of a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that the timed-daily ingestion of whey protein reduces visceral fat.
Whey protein – protein fraction of whey, which is a liquid that separates from milk during cheese production – is usually supplemented with exercise regimes because it promotes muscle growth.
The present study examined the effects of timed ingestion of supplemental protein (20-g servings of whey protein, three times a day), added to the habitual diet of overweight/obese adults.
Participants were allocated into four groups: whey protein only, whey protein and resistance exercise, or a whey protein and multimode exercise training program (protein and resistance exercise, intervals, stretching/yoga/Pilates, endurance exercise).
Visceral fat markers were measured before and after the 16-week intervention.
By the end of the study, all groups lost body weight, fat mass and visceral fat.
“In conclusion, we find evidence to support exercise training and timed ingestion of whey protein added to the habitual diet of free-living overweight/obese adults,” the researchers said.
General dietary tips
In general, if you want to reduce your belly fat, you’ll need to burn more calories (energy) than you consume, and eat the right kinds of food.
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According to Bupa, eating a balanced diet is integral to this effort.
“Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg each day, and include higher-fibre starchy foods in meals,” advises the health body.
It also recommends:
- Have some reduced-fat dairy or soya drinks fortified in calcium
- Eat more beans, pulses, fish and eggs
- Eat small amounts of unsaturated oil
- Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
- Avoid adding salt or sugar to your meals.
“And finally, cut out sports drinks, sugar sweetened drinks and other foods that have a lot of added sugar in them.”
You should also stay clear of processed sugars and complex carbohydrates.
“Instead, try and include plenty of soluble fibre foods such as flax seeds, avocados, blackberries, and Brussels sprouts,” advises Holland and Barrett.
Why? The health body explains: “This is because soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
“It helps you feel fuller for longer, so you end up eating less and not snacking excessively.”
The other key component to visceral fat reduction is regular exercise.
“The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity,” advises Harvard Health.
According to the health body, you should do at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight and lose belly fat.
Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer.
Examples of moderate intensity activities:
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- Riding a bike
- Doubles tennis
- Pushing a lawn mower
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