Visceral fat is deemed dangerous because it’s stored in the abdominal cavity next to many vital organs, including the liver, pancreas and intestines. If visceral fat is left to build up, a person can be at increased risk of serious health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Eating a poor diet can lead to high levels of visceral fat, so making changes to your diet is recommended.
One diet proven to help banish visceral fat is the ketogenic, or keto, diet.
In a study published in April this year, researchers looked at how useful the keto diet could be in the military.
In the US, obesity is believed to be an ongoing challenge, both in terms of recruiting soldiers and seeing them fit for service.
The Ohio State University study included 29 people, and for three months, 15 of the participants followed a keto diet.
A comparison group of 14 peers ate their normal diet.
Kept diets drastically reduce carb intake and replace it with fat, putting the body in a natural metabolic state called ketosis.
The findings of the study showed participants on the keto diet lost an average of almost 17 pounds and were able, with the support of counsellors, to maintain ketosis for 12 weeks.
As a group, they lost more than five percent of their body fat, almost 44 percent of their belly, or visceral fat, and had a 48 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity – a marker for diabetes risk.
Study senior author Jeff Volek said: “We showed that a group of people with military affiliation cold accept a ketogenic diet and successfully lose weight, including visceral adipose tissue, a type of fat strongly associated with chronic disease.
“This could be the first step toward a bigger study looking at the potential benefits of ketogenic eating in the armed forces.”
Both groups in the study also did regular resistance training and showed comparable physical performance levels at the end of the study.
Regular exercise has been shown to be another effective way of getting rid of visceral fat.
When it comes to what type of exercise to do, many studies have shown aerobic exercise to be effective, even without dieting.
An analysis of 15 studies in 852 people compared how well different types of exercise reduced visceral fat without dieting.
The analysis found moderate and high-intensity aerobic exercises were most effective at reducing visceral fat without dieting.
Studies have also shown a lack of sleep may increase a person’s risk of visceral fat gain.
A six-year study including 293 people found increasing sleep from six hours or less to seven to eight hours reduced visceral fat gain by roughly 26 percent.
Several studies have also linked sleep apnea, a condition that impairs breathing, with a higher risk of gaining visceral fat.
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