Visceral fat is considered harmful because it is stored in the abdominal cavity along with many vital organs, including the liver and intestines. Having too much visceral fat can increase a person's risk of serious illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Bad lifestyle choices can lead to the accumulation of visceral fat, such as eating a diet high in saturated fat, so it is highly recommended to make changes in the foods you are eating. When it comes to a particular diet to follow, the Mediterranean diet may be the best to get rid of visceral fat.
A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev conducted a weight loss test that lasted 18 months and included almost 300 participants, mostly men with abdominal obesity, which means they carried high levels of visceral fat .
During the trial period, participants were randomized to one of two diets.
The first was a low-fat diet in which fats represented no more than 30% of the total daily intake of participants and saturated fats no more than 10%.
They were also instructed to increase fiber intake of low-fat grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes.
The second diet combined a Mediterranean-style diet with a low carb diet.
Participants regularly consulted with a nutritionist to obtain nutrients, and after six months they were also prescribed an exercise program: three one-hour sessions each week in the gym that included a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training.
After 18 months, their overall weight loss was considered moderate, and the participants only lost about 3 kg or average.
But the low-carb Mediterranean diet had a greater effect on reducing fats around the liver (30 percent) and the heart (11 percent) compared to low-fat diets with similar calorie counts.
Moderate physical exercise also reduced the amount of visceral fat stored around the stomach.
So what can you eat as part of a low-carb Mediterranean diet?
Participants in the study ate:
A lot of vegetables
Low consumption of red meat
Poultry and fish instead of beef and lamb
Then they ate up to 70 g of carbohydrates a day: whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice are good options here.
Another low carb diet that has proven effective in getting rid of visceral fat is the ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic diets drastically reduce carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat, placing the body in a natural metabolic state called ketosis.
A study that involved 28 overweight and obese adults found that those who followed a ketogenic diet lost more fat, especially visceral fat, than people who followed a low-fat diet.
They also did this while eating approximately 300 more calories per day.
Including a certain drink in your diet can also help eliminate visceral fat.