Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Belly fat lies perilously close to important organs such as the liver, stomach, kidneys, and intestines. Carrying too much of it can therefore increase your risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Fortunately, the belly fat may not be as stubborn as it seems.
Visceral fat is highly responsive to dietary modifications, some of which are surprisingly simple.
In a study published in the Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy journal taking just one capsule a day of kempferia parviflora (KP), also known as black ginger, was shown to reduce visceral fat.
“Kaempferia parviflora extract (KPE) exhibits anti-obesity effects in animals,” wrote the study researchers.
“However, as no clinical trials have evaluated the anti-obesity effects of KPE in humans, we examined the effects of KPE in reducing abdominal fat in overweight and pre-obese Japanese subjects.”
To achieve this objective, a 12-week, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted.
In a double blind study, neither the participants nor the researcher knows which treatment or intervention participants are receiving until the clinical trial is over.
Seventy-six subjects (males and females aged 20 to 65 years) with a high body mass index were randomly assigned into two groups.
The subjects in each group ingested one capsule of placebo or active KPE (containing 150 mg of KPE) once daily for 12 weeks.
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The primary outcome was reduction in visceral fat area as determined by computed tomography scanning (CT).
A CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body.
Compared with the placebo group, the active KPE group exhibited “significant” reduction in abdominal fat area (visceral, subcutaneous, and total fat) after 12 weeks,” the researchers observed.
Subcutaneous fat is the type of fat you can pinch – it lies just under the surface of the skin.
What’s more, a significant reduction in abdominal fat area was observed in the healthier subjects compared with the placebo group after 12 weeks.
“Daily ingestion of KPE safely reduces body fat, particularly abdominal fat, in Japanese overweight and pre-obese subjects,” the researchers concluded.
General tips to beat the belly fat
According to Holland and Barrett, you should stay clear of processed sugars and complex carbohydrates.
“Instead, try and include plenty of soluble fibre foods such as flax seeds, avocados, blackberries, and Brussels sprouts,” advises the health body.
As it explains, this is because soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
“It helps you feel fuller for longer, so you end up eating less and not snacking excessively.”
Exercise is also key to curbing visceral fat. According to Bupa, any form of exercise for at least 30 minutes a day is good for you.
“This could include cycling to work or getting off the bus or train one or two stops early.”
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