Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, is stored within the abdominal cavity, which houses important organs such as the liver and intestines. A build-up of visceral fat can therefore imperil vital functions, hiking your risk of chronic complications, such as heart disease. Fortunately, you can reduce the accumulation of visceral fat by making healthy dietary decisions.
A study published in the Journal of Functional Foods suggests supplementing with apple cider vinegar can get at the stubborn belly fat.
Just as with other types of vinegar, the key ingredient in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid, which is produced when the sugars from apples are fermented.
“When apple cider vinegar is filtered, it looks like a clear liquid. If it’s left unfiltered, it has a cloudy appearance because it contains a combination of yeast and bacteria that forms during fermentation, known as ‘the mother’,” explains Holland and Barrett.
A randomised, clinical trial was performed to examine whether apple cider vinegar can result in dietary modifications that provides beneficial effects on the management of body weight in overweight or obese individuals.
The participants were randomly allocated into the apple cider vinegar or the control group for 12 weeks.
The apple cider vinegar group “significantly” reduced body weight, BMI, Hip circumference, visceral fat and appetite score, the researchers found.
Furthermore, total cholesterol levels significantly decreased and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentration significantly increased in the apple cider vinegar group in comparison to the control group.
The reduction in cholesterol is significant: high LDL cholesterol levels can raise your risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol levels, on the other hand, reduce your risk of heart disease.
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The findings are not entirely surprising. Mounting evidence has pointed to the anti-obesity effects of apple cider vinegar.
Researchers think apple cider may work by helping to reduce appetite – it contains acetic acid, which has been shown to reduce the absorption of starches in food and slow digestion, keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Other key dietary tips
“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 in your meals you may find that you’re not as hungry, and so eat less.”
Make sure you include protein with each meal. Good sources include:
- Chicken breast
“Go for foods that are rich in protein and low in fat (known as lean protein sources) as some sources of protein can be high in saturated fat,” advises Bupa.
The health body adds: “Alternatively, there are lots of protein products on the market, such as supplements and powders, but if you decide to use these make sure you have a trained sports dietitian or nutritionist supervising your diet.”
Combining healthier eating with a regular exercise regime will also help you to successfully lose belly fat.
“You should try to take part in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, at least five days a week,” advises Holland and Barrett.
The key here is to do what interests you.
“So you might fancy a brisk walk to work up a sweat, breathe harder and quicken your heart rate. Or perhaps cycling to work rather than taking the car. Not everyone needs to rush to the gym,” explains Holland and Barrett.
According to the health body, by raising your heart rate for 30 minutes at least three times per week, you are effectively slowing down how much visceral fat you gain.
“If going to the gym is not your thing, then have a look at some alternative ways of keeping fit and healthy.”
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