Visceral fat is a type of body fat stored in the abdominal cavity next to many vital organs, including the liver, pancreas and intestines. For this reason, having too much can increase a person’s risk of serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet can lead to visceral fat build-up, so experts recommend regularly exercising and making changes to what you eat. Another factor to consider to get rid of visceral fat is sleep.
Sleep is important for many aspects of a person’s health, including visceral fat.
Studies have shown people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat.
One 16-year study in more than 68,000 women found those who slept less than five hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept seven hours or more per night.
The condition, sleep apnea, which is when a person’s breathing stops intermittently during the night, has also been linked to excess visceral fat.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, speak with your GP.
People that have difficulty falling asleep should try and achieve a regular bedtime routine.
The NHS advises: “First of all, keep regular sleeping hours. This programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.
“Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule.
“It is also important to try and wake up at the same time every day. While it may seem like a good idea to try to catch up on sleep after a bad night, doing do on a regular basis can also disrupt your sleep routine.”
Making sure you wind down properly before bed, making your bedroom sleep-friendly, such as having the room the right temperature and a good mattress, and keeping a sleep diary can also help towards a good night’s sleep.
When it comes to the best diet to follow to get rid of visceral fat, research has suggested the effectiveness of a low carb diet.
An eight-week study including 69 overweight men and women found people who followed a low-carb diet lost 10 per cent more visceral fat and 4.4 per cent more total fat than those on a low-fat diet.
One low-carb diet which has proven particularly effective at shifting visceral fat is the ketogenic or keto diet.
A study involving 28 overweight and obese adults found those who followed a ketogenic diet lost more fat, especially visceral fat, than people following a low-fat diet.
The best exercise to get rid of visceral fat has proven to be aerobic exercise.
An analysis of 15 studies in 852 people compared how well different types of exercise reduced visceral fat without dieting.
They found moderate and high-intensity aerobic exercises were most effective at reducing visceral fat without dieting.