Visceral fat lies in close proximity to internal organs in the body, such as the liver and intestines. This precarious positioning means it can interfere with various processes in the body. Some of the most damaging include hampering insulin production – a precursor to type 2 diabetes – and raising your risk of heart disease.
The grave dangers posed by visceral fat accumulation means it is vital to reduce a build-up of the stubborn belly fat.
In lockstep with exercise, diet offers the most effective weapon against the belly fat.
Fibre – a plant-derived complex carbohydrate which the body cannot digest – has been touted for its visceral fat-burning benefits.
“The latest research suggests that eating enough fibre could be the key to reducing your risk of various health conditions as well as helping you lose stubborn fat, including dangerous visceral fat which can build up around internal organs,” reports Holland and Barrett.
READ MORE: How to lose visceral fat: Follow a ‘good quality’ high-protein diet to reduce belly fat
Over the course of the study, soluble fibre intake and participation in vigorous activity led to reductions visceral fat.
For each ten grams increase in soluble fibre, rate of visceral fat accumulation decreased by 3.7 percent.
Soluble fibre was not associated with change in subcutaneous fat, however.
Subcutaneous fat is the type of fat that lies just under the surface.
“Soluble fibre intake and increased physical activity were related to decreased VAT [visceral fat] accumulation over five years,” the researchers concluded.
The fat-burning mechanism behind fibre
According to Holland and Barrett, both insoluble and soluble fibre cause feelings of satiety (fullness).
“They both add bulk in your stomach. Your gut then communicates to your brain that it’s getting full and your hunger subsides,” explains the health body.
It adds: “Additionally, when we digest fibre, a molecule called acetate is released which signals to the brain that we are becoming full.”
Other key tips
In addition to eating fibre, protein has been shown to aid weight loss.
“Protein can be a helpful way to lose weight because it makes you feel fuller than carbs and fat do,” explains Bupa.
“So if you include a lean source of protein, such as skinless white chicken, in your meals you may find that you’re not as hungry, and so eat less.”
Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, mackerel, salmon, eggs, milk, red lentils, chickpeas, brown bread, nuts and soya.