Visceral fat is distinct from subcutaneous fat – the fat gathers around your belly area. It lurks near the liver and intestines, hiking the risk of metabolic complications, such as insulin resistance. Fortunately, you can reverse the harmful belly fat by making healthy dietary modifications.
Research published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology suggests a short-term ketogenic diet can promote visceral fat-loss.
The keto diet is a very low carb, high fat diet that involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.
This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis; a different type of fuel that can aid weight loss.
The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of a short-term keto diet on body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness in overweight/obese Chinese females.
Twenty young females consumed four weeks of a normal diet as a baseline and then switched to a low-carbohydrate, high-fat, and adequate protein keto diet for another four weeks.
The results showed that, without impairing the cardiorespiratory fitness level, the four-week keto diet intervention significantly reduced body weight and body mass index (BMI).
BMI is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.
What’s more, waist circumference, hip circumference, and body fat percentage was reduced following the keto diet intervention.
“These findings suggest that keto diet can be used as a rapid and effective approach to lose weight and reduce abdominal adiposity in overweight/obese Chinese females without exacerbating their cardiorespiratory fitness,” the researchers concluded.
Keto diet – what it involves
Harvard Health explains: “The diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel.
“Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.”
According to the health body, because the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal.
You should opt for unsaturated fats, such as nuts (almonds, walnuts), seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil, it advises.
“But saturated fats from oils (palm, coconut), lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.”
Protein, which is a key part of the keto diet, has been shown to promote weight loss.
Bupa explains: “Protein can be a helpful way to lose weight because it makes you feel fuller than carbs and fat do.”
If you include a lean source of protein, such as skinless white chicken, in your meals you may find that you’re not as hungry, and so eat less, notes the health body.
Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, mackerel, salmon, eggs, milk, red lentils, chickpeas, brown bread, nuts and soya.
“And remember that a portion of protein is about as big as the palm of your hand,” notes Bupa.
It 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.”