Not all fat is created equally and, unlike subcutaneous fat, which describes the fat that can pinch, visceral fat is found deep below the surface, near vital organs such as the liver, stomach and intestines. Therefore, an accumulation of visceral fat poses serious health risks, leading to chronic complications such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
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Fortunately, making positive changes in your diet can help curb visceral fat, keeping the associated health risks at bay.
A simple dietary modification that has been shown to reduce harmful belly fat is to take probiotics, live bacteria that can improve your gut and digestive health.
Probiotics can be taken as a supplement and studies investigating the link between probiotic consumption and visceral fat loss suggest that probiotics can reduce the absorption of fat in the intestine, causing the body to expel more.
In addition, probiotics can help promote higher levels of GLP-1, a fullness hormone and ANGPTL4, a protein that can help reduce fat storage.
How to get rid of visceral fat: evidence suggests that probiotic supplements may reduce fat absorption (Image: Getty Images)
Studies have revealed that consuming a particular strain of probiotic supplement can help reduce abdominal fat.
The evidence links a certain strain of probiotic bacteria of the Lactobacillus family, such as Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri with the loss of visceral fat.
For example, a study in 210 healthy Japanese adults investigated the effects of taking Lactobacillus gasseri over a period of 12 weeks.
He discovered that people who took Lactobacillus gasseri lost 8.5 percent of visceral fat.
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However, as soon as the participants stopped taking the probiotic, they recovered all the visceral fat in a month.
Other key dietary tips to reduce harmful abdominal fat
Exercise also plays a key role in reducing visceral fat and certain exercises have proven more beneficial than others to reduce harmful belly fat.
Harvard Health recommends regular regular physical activity of moderate intensity, at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight and lose abdominal fat.
Extensive evidence supports this claim, showing that aerobic exercise can help you lose visceral fat, even without dieting.
How to get rid of visceral fat: numerous studies suggest that a low carb diet can reduce harmful fat (Image: Getty Images)
For example, an analysis of 15 studies in 852 people compared how well different types of exercise reduced visceral fat without dieting.
They discovered that moderate and high intensity aerobic exercises were more effective in reducing visceral fat without dieting.
What counts as aerobic exercise?
Aerobic exercise is any form of exercise that causes your heart to pump and make you breathe faster, such as walking, biking or swimming.
Strength training (weight training) can also help fight abdominal fat, according to Harvard Health.
The diet also plays a key role in reducing visceral fat, with numerous studies promoting a low carb diet to combat harmful abdominal fat.
In an eight-week study that included 69 overweight men and women, scientists found that people who followed a low carb diet lost 10 percent more visceral fat and 4.4 percent more total fat than those with a low fat diet.
In addition, the ketogenic diet, which drastically reduces carbohydrate intake and replaces it with fat, can also help reduce visceral fat.
A study that included 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.