How to get rid of visceral fat: One drink to avoid to help burn the harmful belly fat
Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat is stored in a person’s abdominal cavity and is also known as ‘active fat’ as it influences how hormones function in the body. An excess of visceral fat can, therefore, have potentially dangerous consequences. Because visceral fat is in the abdominal cavity, it is close to many vital organs, such as the pancreas, liver, and intestines. The higher the amount of visceral fat a person stores, the more at risk they are for certain health complications. Experts advise avoiding or reducing alcohol intake to help burn belly fat.
While drinking small amounts of alcohol, in particular red wine, has been found to have its health benefits, drinking too much alcohol can harm your health and your waistline.
Several studies have shown that drinking too much alcohol may encourage fat to be stored as visceral fat.
One study, which involved 8,603 Korean adults, found people who drank the most alcohol also had the largest waist circumference, which can be a marker of visceral fat.
Another study, that looked at 87 women, found a moderate alcohol intake was also linked to carrying more visceral fat.
Alcohol is metabolised differently than other foods and drinks.
Normally, the body gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system.
However, this digestive process changes when alcohol is there.
When a person drinks alcohol, it gets immediate attention as it recognises alcohol as a toxin and needs no digestion.
The liver then burns the alcohol rather than the fat and this increases fat around the belly.
Not only does alcohol delay the liver’s ability to break down fat, but it also obstructs the body’s access to the hormones it needs to help break down fat effectively.
When the body is focused on processing alcohol, it is not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat.
Therefore, these calories are converted into body fat and are carried away for permanent storage on your body.
In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, alcohol and how it affects a person’s fat adiposity was investigated.
The study noted: “Our study examined whether various drinking patterns differentially affect fat distribution, particularly abdominal fat in women and men.
“These results support the hypothesis that drinking pattern affects the distribution of body fat, an important CHD risk factor.”
If you want to try cutting down on the amount you are drink, then here are five practical tips from The British Dietetic Association:
- Replace high calorie mixer for a lower calorie one e.g low calorie tonic or diet cola and alternate drinks with water/diet/low calorie drinks
- Don’t top up the glass before it’s finished so the volume consumed can be monitored more accurately
- Let your friends and family know you are trying to cut down so they can support you
- Avoid salty snacks such as crisps and salted nuts because these make you thirstier (as well as being high in fat and salt)
- Think about the strength of your drink – choose beers or lagers that contain less alcohol
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