Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat is the fat that grows around the belly and it’s a sign of an extremely dangerous condition called metabolic syndrome, or what American metabolism doctor Elie Jarrouge calls “metabolic chaos”. Metabolic syndrome consists of a dangerous cocktail of high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
Doctor Jarrouge said: “Public enemy #1 is excess visceral fat. This is the excess fat in your abdomen between and inside your organs.
“It’s the source of most metabolic chaos and diseases.”
Yet, not everyone knows that oily foods may be a major contributor of visceral fat, suggests the doc.
Doctor Jarrouge described on Twitter how “junk food that you constantly eat, which is very high in sugar, refined carbs and oils, is the main driver”.
The type of junk food he is talking about could include things like chips that are cooked in hydrogenated oil.
Hydrogenated oil is the type of fat that turns into a solid at room temperature – often used because it can make foods fresh for longer. Diabetes.co.uk states that these oils can be found in margarine, cakes, doughnuts, and ice cream.
Not all oily food is associated with visceral fat. Reasonable consumption of food containing liquid vegetable oils is known to be healthy – as it mostly contains healthy unsaturated fats.
Olive oil, sesame oil, and canola oil are a few of these types of oils. Palm oil is missed off the list because it’s much higher in saturated fat. It contains nearly double the proportion of saturated fat as olive oil.
Yet, too much consumption of even the healthiest oils is linked to visceral fat.
This may be due to the high amount of calories contained in them, more than anything though.
One preliminary study has shown that a diet that is high in extra virgin olive oil, could produce obesity and insulin resistance in rats – although it’s not fully understood why.
How can you drop your visceral fat?
Doctor Jarrouge recommended eating less sugar and refined carbohydrates and introducing intermittent fasting.
This is when you bounce between fasting and eating and may differ in the ratio of fasting to eating.
The two most well-known fasting ratios are the 5:2 and 16:8 diets. During the 5:2 diet, you have two days of low-calorie intake – roughly 500 to 600 calories. This is followed by five days of normal eating.
The 16:8 is when you fast for 16 hours and only eat within an eight-hour period of the day. These eight hours should be filled with healthy, balanced meals.
But there are some side effects to the activity.
The NHS explains: “You may experience some headaches and constipation but you can limit the risk of this by making sure you are drinking plenty of fluids on your fasting days and eating plenty of vegetables and fruit.
“On the fasting days you can expect to feel hungry but remind yourself this is only for two days out of seven and make the most of your calories.”
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