Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is stored in your abdominal cavity, lurking near important organs such as the liver, stomach, kidneys, and intestines. It is associated with chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Finding ways to banish the belly fat therefore provides a buffer against chronic disease.
What you put into your body is integral to this effort and even simple dietary tweaks can go a long way.
According to a study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, swapping refined wheat bread for whole grain wheat bread can get rid of the stubborn belly fat.
The study, based in Japan, investigated the effect of whole wheat grain consumption on visceral fat parameters.
A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled intervention study was conducted in 50 Japanese subjects.
“Subjects were randomly assigned whole grain wheat bread or refined wheat bread diets for 12 weeks,” the researchers wrote.
Blood samples and computed tomography (CT) scans were obtained every sixth week.
A CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body.
What did the researchers find out?
The whole grain wheat bread group showed decrease in visceral fat area (VFA), whereas the refined wheat bread group showed no significant changes.
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“These time-dependent changes were significantly different between the groups,” the researchers observed.
They concluded: “Whole grain wheat bread diet led to significant and safe reductions in VFA in subjects with BMI ≥ 23 kg/m2. Whole grain wheat bread diet may contribute to preventing visceral fat obesity.”
What accounts for this effect?
The researchers did not posit why whole grain wheat bread causes reductions in belly fat, but it is a source of soluble fibre.
Fibre – specifically soluble fibre – has been shown to aid weight loss.
Holland and Barrett explains: “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.
“This is because soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.”
As the health body explains, it helps you feel fuller for longer, so you end up eating less and not snacking excessively.
If you are serious about losing belly fat fast, then you need to know the exercises that will help you burn your belly fat more efficiently.
Studies have shown that you can help trim visceral fat or prevent its growth with both aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) and strength training (exercising with weights).
According to Harvard Health, spot exercises, such as sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles but won’t get at visceral fat.
“Exercise can also help keep fat from coming back,” notes the health body.
You should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week, advises the NHS.
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