Visceral fat: how do you get rid of it and what is it?

Today we will talk about visceral fat. What it is and how to get rid of it.
First of all, the belly fat that is in your abdominal cavity is being called visceral fat.

Is having visceral fat a bad thing? No, everyone has visceral fat and that is basically a positive thing. It covers organs against collisions and smacks and protects them.
Well, leave it then and get more of it right? Not really. When you have too much of it, visceral fat becomes a problem.

So why is less abdominal fat good for your wellbeing and how do you lose visceral fat? What does visceral fat look like?


  • What is visceral fat?
  • The benefits of less visceral fat
  • 7 nutrition tips against visceral fat
  • Movement tips against visceral fat
  • Relaxation tips against visceral fat

What is visceral fat?
There are two types of abdominal fat. Subcutaneous abdominal fat and visceral abdominal fat.

  • Subcutaneous abdominal fat
    Grab your belly with your fingers and you are holding now subcutaneous abdominal fat in your hand. This fat is between your abdominal muscles and your skin.
  • Visceral abdominal fat
    This fat you cannot grasp. Visceral abdominal fat is in your abdominal cavity, under your abdominal muscles.

Having too much visceral fat makes your belly look bloated and thick. The fat will push your abdominal wall outward and can make your belly feel hard, because the fat is under your abdominal muscles. As is often the case with men.

Visceral fat can be recognized as:

  • A beer belly
  • A bulging belly
  • A large, round, hard belly
  • A strong apple shape figure: thin legs, but a lot of weight around the waist
  • Overweight

Not only overweight people often have too much visceral fat. Even people with a healthy weight can have too much visceral abdominal fat.

Hazards of visceral fat
Abdominal visceral fat is much more harmful than abdominal subcutaneous fat. If you have too much of it, it is the most harmful fat in your body.

Excess visceral fat puts not only pressure on your abdominal wall, but also on the organs in which it has to share your abdominal cavity with – such as your liver, stomach, intestines and kidneys. What makes visceral fat even more harmful is that your hormones are affected by it.

Visceral fat generates hormones that interrupt the burning of fat and can cause even more fat to be stored [1]. Via these hormones abdominal fat also affects how you feel.

It is important to realize that visceral abdominal fat exists. It affects your hormones, organs, resources, appetite and weight.
If you have too much abdominal visceral fat, you are at higher risk for serious disorders [2,3], including:

  • A heart attack
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • A stroke
  • Breast and colon cancer

Advantages of less visceral fat
If you have too much visceral fat, it will do your health good if you remove any excess fat. The health benefits of living without excess visceral abdominal fat are [1,4,5]:

  • A healthy heart
  • Better cholesterol levels
  • A healthy blood pressure
  • Less chance of type 2 diabetes
  • A fast metabolism
  • An active fat burning
  • More energy
  • You feel happier/happier

Do you suffer from too much visceral fat and do you still want to benefit from the advantages described above? To find out how you burn visceral fat, then read on.

Burning visceral fat
There are three ways to get rid of visceral fat:

  • With your food
  • With movement
  • With your lifestyle

A combination of these three is best: this is the quickest way to burn visceral fat. Let us get started with the first one: nutrition.

Nutrition tips – lose visceral fat

1. Stop your sugar addiction
The most efficient way to burn visceral fat is to consume less sugar. Eating less sugar also makes your cells, including visceral fat, burn more body fat.

Moreover, multiple studies show that the more sugar you consume, the greater the likelihood that you store a lot of visceral fat [6].

Quitting sugar is also the first step towards losing visceral fat.

These sugary goods should be avoided:

  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Ice cream
  • Cake
  • Cake
  • Soft drink
  • Fruit Juice

2. Put these omega 3 bombs on the menu
Oily fish are remarkably healthy. It has a lot of omega-3 fats in it-something we do not get enough of these days.

Omega 3 fats protect you against various diseases and inflammations [7] and help you burn visceral fat.

Scientific evidence indicates that omega-3-rich fish oil results in substantially less visceral fat in individuals with and without obesity [8,9].

In vegetable products, you can also find omega 3, especially in nuts and seeds. Varying and having omega 3 from nuts and seeds as well as oily fish (once or twice a week) is best.

This diet is high in omega 3:

  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Linseed
  • Chia seed
  • Walnuts

3. Oatmeal, beans and avocado: eat fiber against fat
Not only can the fibers make healthy bacteria in your intestines happy, but you as well. Research shows that fiber is very effective in reducing visceral fat.

A research of more than 1000 participants found that people who ate more fiber had less abdominal fat. For every 10 grams of extra fiber, the percentage of abdominal fat was reduced by 3.7 percent [10].

There are two types of fiber:

  1. Soluble fibers
  2. Insoluble fibers

Particularly the soluble fibers are so effective against visceral fat. These fibers absorb moisture and your stomach forms a gel-like mass, making you feel satisfied. They also keep the amount of blood sugar steady, so for hours, you will not need an unhealthy snack.

Nutrition with a lot of soluble fibers:

  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Oatmeal
  • Plums
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Beans

Fibers also ensure that the food can pass easily into your intestines. In this way, a fat belly can also be avoided due to a bloated feeling.

4. Eat your protein
If you want to lose visceral fat, proteins are your best buddies. In three ways, proteins help to burn fat:

• Proteins improve the metabolism [11].
This is because your body has to make more effort than carbohydrates or fats to break down proteins.

• Proteins (which burn fat) protect your muscles.
To construct muscle and other tissues, proteins are needed. By eating high protein, you ensure that your body primarily burns fat and does not ‘eat’ muscle tissue. That would be a shame, because muscles burn a lot of calories, including those from the fat in your abdomen.

• Proteins suppress starvation [12]
For a long period of time, protein-rich food keeps you satisfied, so you do not need to snack in between.

It also turns out that proteins specifically reduce the risk of excess visceral fat.

Different studies show that there is less abdominal fat in people who eat a lot of protein than in people who eat little protein [13,14].
The rule of thumb is to get enough protein to consume. Something rich in protein with every main meal.

These are products with a lot of protein:

  • Egg
  • Fish
  • Crustaceans and shellfish
  • Meat
  • Tempeh
  • Quark or Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Legumes

Low-carb snacks also help you burn visceral fat.

5. Stop with junk food
There is trans fat in unhealthy foods, such as deep-fried snacks and cakes (also called ‘junk food’). This is factory-hardened vegetable fat.

Inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and visceral fat production are linked to trans fat [15].

Research found that monkeys that ate a lot of trans fat produced 33 percent more abdominal visceral fat than monkeys that ate unsaturated fat, without varying in the amount of calories in their diet [16].

Avoid these sources of trans fats:

  • Hard margarine
  • Deep-frying fat
  • Fast food and fried snacks
  • Frozen pizza
  • Canned meat
  • Sausage (all kinds)
  • Cheap peanut butter
  • Chocolate, cake, cakes and pastries
  • Chips

6. Do not drink sugar
Soft drinks rich in sugar are full of added fructose, a type of sugar that can cause excess visceral fat. Research has shown that fructose beverages are much worse than added-sugar foods.

In a study, overweight people were divided into two groups and followed for 10 weeks.

  • Group 1: Soft drink group
    For 25 percent of the calories, this group followed a dietary schedule consisting of sodas with fructose (regular soft drinks).
  • Group 2: Control group
    This party adopted a glucose-containing dietary regimen consisting of 25 percent of the calories in soft drinks.

After 10 weeks, considerably more visceral abdominal fat formed in people in the fructose soft drink community than in the control group [17]. Therefore, drinking soft drinks contributes even more to abdominal fat production.

Fruit juices such as apple juice, orange juice and freshly squeezed ‘juices’ also contain a lot of fructose and, in the same way as soft drinks, store more visceral fat.

7. Eat less carbohydrates
Limiting your carbohydrate intake can be a big advantage in the fight against visceral fat.
Low-carb diets have been shown to be very effective in burning visceral abdominal fat in several scientific studies [20,21].

One of the studies found that men on a low-carb diet burned more than twice as much abdominal fat than men on a standard (low-fat) diet [20]. And it is the harmful visceral abdominal fat that is burned in particular [22].

Eating a low carbohydrate diet not only ensures that you burn the existing visceral fat, but also prevents you from producing new visceral fat.

Movement tips – visceral fat
Whether you like walking, cycling or fanatical sports, all forms of exercise provide an additional boost to the fat burning in your belly[23].

Research found that people who, in addition to their diet, exercised for one hour five days a week lost after 12 weeks as much as 3.7 cm around their abdomen and burned more fat than people who did not exercise [24].

By exercising, your body produces hormones that stimulate fat burning and suppress hunger. As long as you are going, it is not about what you do.

Our guideline is to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes every day. Vacuuming and cycling to work are also part of this guideline.

HIIT: the best movement against abdominal fat
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an effective way to quickly burn visceral fat: explosive exercise for a short period of time, with breaks in between.

Research shows that in the burning of abdominal fat, HIIT is very effective [25]. You will gain results with 20 minutes of HIIT!

You can start right away with the HIIT training schedule below.

How to do HIIT
Warming up: 3 minutes jogging or rope jumping.

Training (repeat 4 to 8 times):

  • 20 seconds sprinting / knee lifting / spinning (on bike) / rope jumping
  • 40 seconds rest

Cooling down: 2 minutes jogging.

A small warning
As far as movement is concerned, there are two warnings:

1. Don’t sport too fanatically
When you exercise too often, too frequently and too vigorously, the body responds by releasing extra cortisol. This inhibits the burning of fat, stimulates the production of fat and fixes the fat on your belly [26]. If you want to burn visceral fat, do not do more than one and a half hours of intensive sports in a row.

2. Abdominal muscle exercises make the abdomen tighter, but not leaner
With abdominal exercise, you do not burn more visceral abdominal fat or subcutaneous abdominal fat than when you skip it. Scientists tracked 24 people doing abdominal exercises six days a week and concluded that these abdominal exercises had no effect on the amount of abdominal fat at all [27].

Relaxation tips – visceral fat
To finish, we have a few tips that you can use to lose visceral fat in your everyday life. All of these have to do with relaxation.

When you are relaxed, reduce the stress hormone cortisol that is responsible for extra fat storage in your abdominal area [28].

There are six tips below to help you relax. This way, you keep burning fat in your abdomen and lose weight a lot easier.

1. Plan an hour for yourself every day
You deserve to take at least an hour a day for yourself. Read a book, bake something good, or do the artistic project you have always wanted to start with.

2. Have a good night’s sleep
Research suggests that people who do not get enough sleep gain weight more easily. Sleeping well stimulates the development of fat-burning hormones, such as growth hormones, helping you lose fat faster [29].

Sleep disorder study has shown that men with sleep disorder have more abdominal fat than men who have not [30]. It is best to sleep between 7 and 8 hours every night.

3. Go for a walk more often
Movement is also very effective in lowering the hormone cortisol.

4. Go to bed on time
You are more likely to get enough sleep if you go to bed on time. One hour in advance, switching off all screens (laptop, Monitor, mobile and tablet): this will boost the quality of your sleep.

5. Spending time with friends and relatives
A pleasant chat with a friend or a nice family evening gives your body the chance to relax.

6. Eat healthy!
How you feel affects what you eat. Healthy eating has a beneficial effect on your hormones and helps you keep the cortisol stress hormone under control.


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