Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat is part of an infamous club of conditions collectively known as metabolic syndrome. Along with diabetes and high blood pressure, it puts you at greater risk of getting coronary heart disease, stroke and other conditions that affect the blood vessels. Stamping out visceral fat is therefore essential to sustaining life.
Even small tweaks to your lifestyle can have an outsized impact on visceral fat.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart, a simple snack swap can aid visceral fat loss.
The key finding from the study is that opting for a daily snack of 1.5 ounces of almonds instead of a high-carbohydrate muffin, when eaten as part of an overall healthy diet, can reduce heart disease markers, such as visceral fat.
The findings are also the first of their kind to show benefits of eating almonds in reducing abdominal and leg fat.
In addition to reducing visceral fat, snacking on almonds also improved LDL and total cholesterol levels – fatty substances that contribute to heart disease.
To gather their findings, researchers at Penn State University conducted a twelve-week, randomised, controlled clinical study.
They enrolled 52 overweight, middle-aged adults who had high total and LDL cholesterol but were otherwise healthy.
Participants ate cholesterol-lowering diets that were identical except that one group was given a daily snack of 1.5 ounces (42g) of whole natural almonds, while the other group was given a banana muffin that provided the same number of calories.
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Participants were provided all meals and snacks in amounts based on their calorie needs to maintain body weight, and followed each diet for six weeks.
Despite no differences in body weight or total fat mass, the almond diet significantly reduced abdominal fat mass, waist circumference and leg fat mass compared to the diet with the muffin snack.
“Our research found that substituting almonds for a high-carbohydrate snack improved numerous heart health risk factors, including the new finding that eating almonds reduced belly fat,” said Claire Berryman, PhD and lead researcher of the study.
“Choosing almonds as a snack may be a simple way to help fight the onset of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.”
Other key dietary tips
Increasing your protein intake can also beat the belly fat into submission.
That’s because protein makes you feel fuller than carbs and fat do, explains Bupa.
“Protein can be a helpful way to lose weight because it makes you feel fuller than carbs and fat do.”
According to the health body, you should include protein with each meal.
Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, mackerel, salmon, eggs, milk, red lentils, chickpeas, brown bread, nuts and soya.
For optimal results, you should complement a healthy, balanced diet with regular exercise.
“Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days, such as brisk walking or bicycling at a casual pace,” advises Harvard Health.
The health body adds: “Also create opportunities to add motion to routine tasks.”
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