While body fat is vital for optimal health, when the energy consumed from foods exceeds the energy burned throughout the day, excess fat storage is the outcome and visceral fat a reality on the horizon.
Where fat stores occur is a matter of genetics and sex. While women curse the flabby subcutaneous fat on their thighs and buttocks, those who, like men, tend to store fat around their abdomen are facing a dangerous personal health crisis.
Men and women with significant stores of visceral fat will observe that their stomach feels solid relative to its size. That is because this metabolically active tissue sits beneath the abdominal muscles, enveloping the crucial organs of the cardiovascular, circulatory, and digestive systems, releasing hormones, and wreaking havoc on the delicate systems of the body.
Visceral fat is intimately tied to Metabolic Syndrome.
Rid yourself of unhealthy, unattractive visceral fat
So great, we can all agree that body fat is bad and visceral fat is dastardly. But, how do we effectively annihilate this gooey mass of literal heartache?
Decrease Calorie Consumption
While we cannot target specific areas of our body for fat loss, visceral fat will burn off with other fat stores. Despite the plethora of popular diets touting various ways to achieve ideal body composition, the bottom line is that a person must burn more calories than they consume.
Does this mean the fastest route to visceral fat loss is starvation? No. The average man and woman burn roughly 2200-2500 calories respectively. The key is to decrease roughly 500 calories per day – paying attention to beverages consumed as these make up the bulk of overconsumed calories. Do not decrease calorie intake by more than 500 calories per day. Consuming too few calories will cause muscle catabolism, cortisol release (see Destress below), and will make you miserable overall. Thus, undoing all of your fat loss efforts.
These days, apps such as My Fitness Pal make calorie tracking a fun obsession, increasing weight loss adherence and maintenance.
Increase Protein Consumption
Protein makes up every fat-free tissue in the body. Moreover, the very digestion of protein (thermic effect of food) will burn up to 30% of the calories it contains. Protein, which requires quite a bit of time to absorb, also contributes to satiety and increased nutrient absorption. All of which lead to burning of visceral fat.
While the minimal RDA for protein is around .4 grams per pound of body weight, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) finds that 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is ideal for fat loss in general.
Avoid Trans Fats to Minimize Visceral Fat
Trans Fats are the man-made fats of the American diet and lead directly to visceral fat storage. Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into an unsaturated fat (think canola oil) to make it thick like a saturated fat (think butter). This enables junk food manufactures to create cheap, palatable, nutrient deficient foods with a long shelf life (think packaged cupcakes).
While this is great for everyone’s pocketbook in the short-term, it has created a public health disaster. Trans fats trigger both fat accumulation in the liver (leading to cirrhosis) and in the abdominal cavity in general.
Steering clear of packaged and processed foods goes a long way to removing these nutritional Frankensteins from your diet and visceral fat from your belly.
Destress to Lower Cortisol Levels
As if stress weren’t stressful enough, its presence elicits cortisol release. Cortisol is that magical chemical enabling human beings to perform outrageous acts of courage, strength, and stamina. It is also a leading cause of anxiety, depression, rapid weight gain, and … you guessed it: visceral fat. Because today’s stress is more chronic (think the job you hate) and less acute (think dingo has your baby), cortisol levels can remain indefinitely elevated.
If you want to live optimally and without a tire around your belly, find ways to reduce stress and increase mental wellbeing.
8 Hours of Sleep to Get Rid of Visceral Fat
Many readers are losing sleep to worry, increased alcohol consumption, or even to a second or third job in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Adequate sleep is vital for health and wellbeing. Without it, the body and mind begin to degrade rapidly. While eight hours of sleep is ideal for most people, less than five hours of sleep on average has a direct impact on health, beginning with visceral fat accumulation. Please note, more than eight hours of sleep has the same effect.
If you find that you are chronically falling short on sleep, there are a few steps you can take to fix sleep disturbances.
HIIT training to Target Visceral Fat
Visceral fat accumulation is highest in those who are least active. Regular exercise provides an inexhaustible list of health benefits. The human body is a biological machine that requires action for optimal health. While movement in general is healing, HIIT training (Hight Intensity Interval Training) is most effective in demolishing visceral fat.
HIIT training is also a time-saver and relieves stress.
Toxins are a modern day reality. They are in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and inside our body fat.
Our bodies store these toxins within fat cells. From there, these environmental pollutants trigger the storage of even more fat and lead to metabolic disease. Researchers believe that this mechanism is not coincidental. By building more fat, specifically visceral fat, toxins are sequestered away from vital organs.
While toxins are prevalent, we can limit them by: limiting pesticides; drinking purified water; protecting the environment; avoiding drugs, alcohol, and nicotine; consuming antioxidants; and occasionally removing toxins from the body with binders such as charcoal.
Burning Visceral Fat Is More than Vanity
Visceral fat is both unattractive and deadly. By following these seven simple tricks, you can get rid of visceral fat and live a longer, healthier and more active life.