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Lose Visceral Fat To Improve Your Overall Health

Lose Visceral Fat To Improve Your Overall Health

One of the main keys to being healthy is to lose visceral fat. Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, is a type of body fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity. Unlike subcutaneous fat, which is located just beneath the skin, visceral fat surrounds and infiltrates the organs in the abdomen. This type of fat is associated with many health risks such as heart disease, and stroke.1

Excess accumulation of visceral fat is often caused by diet and lifestyle. Losing visceral fat is not only important for aesthetic reasons but also for overall health and well-being.

Why Is Visceral Fat So Unhealthy?

High levels of visceral fat are strongly associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. This is because the fat cells release inflammatory substances and hormones that can lead to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries.2

Visceral fat produces hormones and other chemicals that can interfere with insulin production and signaling, leading to insulin resistance.3

As visceral fat increases, it puts pressure on the abdominal organs and can lead to an increase in blood pressure. This puts individuals at a higher risk of developing hypertension.4

The same factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, such as inflammation and plaque buildup, also increase the risk of stroke for those with excess visceral fat.5

The hormones and inflammatory substances released by visceral fat can also affect brain function and have been linked to an increased risk of developing dementia.7

Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Unlike subcutaneous fat, visceral fat has been linked to chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response by your immune system to protect your body from harmful substances such as viruses and bacteria. However, when this response becomes chronic, it can cause damage to your body’s tissues and organs.8

Chronic inflammation is a low-grade, constant state of inflammation that persists in the body for an extended period of time. It is often caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, and environmental toxins.

When the body is in a state of chronic inflammation, it produces inflammatory cytokines which are molecules that promote inflammation. These cytokines can interfere with the normal function of fat cells and cause them to become insulin resistant. Visceral fat is particularly susceptible to this type of inflammation as it is highly metabolically active and releases a higher number of inflammatory cytokines compared to subcutaneous fat.9

When fat cells become insulin resistant, they also release more fatty acids into the bloodstream. These fatty acids then travel to the liver and contribute to the production of even more inflammatory cytokines, creating a vicious cycle.10

Lose Visceral Fat - Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Autoimmune Conditions

Autoimmune conditions are linked to visceral fat accumulation. Autoimmune diseases are characterized by an overactive immune response that attacks the body’s own tissues and organs.

Some examples of autoimmune conditions linked to increased visceral fat include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. These conditions can also make it difficult to lose visceral fat due to the chronic inflammation and hormonal imbalances they cause.11

Flat Abdomen

A flat abdomen is something that we all aspire for, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve. One of the biggest challenges in obtaining a toned stomach is losing visceral fat.

Healthier Looking Face

Excess visceral fat leads to a rounder and fuller face shape. This is due to the fat pushing against the skin from the inside, creating a puffy and bloated look. In contrast, individuals with lower levels of visceral fat tend to have sharper and more defined facial features.

Losing visceral fat not only improves your health but also has a significant impact on your facial appearance. By reducing this harmful type of fat, you can achieve a slimmer and more chiseled face, giving you a healthier and more attractive look.12

Lose Visceral Fat - Healthier Looking Face

Stop Eating Processed Foods

Processed foods are loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as added sugars, unhealthy fats, and high amounts of sodium. These ingredients are known to contribute to the accumulation of visceral fat. To effectively lose visceral fat and improve your overall health, it is crucial to reduce or eliminate processed foods from your diet. 

Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meat, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, and other healthy fats. These types of foods are rich in nutrients and fiber, which help keep you feeling full and satisfied.13

Read more about eating a healthy diet.

HIIT Exercise

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular exercise method that has gained a lot of attention for its effectiveness in burning fat and improving overall fitness. Unlike traditional cardio exercises, HIIT involves short bursts of intense activity followed by brief periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. One of the main benefits of HIIT is its ability to target and reduce visceral fat.14

HIIT has been shown to be more effective at reducing visceral fat compared to other types of exercise. This is because it increases your heart rate and triggers a metabolic response that leads to greater fat burning. Additionally, HIIT workouts are typically shorter in duration but more intense, making it a time-efficient option for those with busy schedules.

In addition to reducing visceral fat, HIIT has numerous other benefits such as improving cardiovascular health, increasing muscle mass, and boosting metabolism. It can also be modified to fit different fitness levels and goals, making it a versatile option for those looking to lose weight and improve their overall health.15

Fasting

Intermittent fasting works by restricting the amount of time you have to eat, usually between 8-10 hours per day. This often leads to a calorie deficit, which is essential for weight loss. Additionally, it also triggers various metabolic changes in the body that can specifically target and lose visceral fat.16

During periods of fasting, the body’s insulin levels decrease, and the hormone glucagon increases. This causes the body to break down stored fat for energy, including visceral fat. Moreover, intermittent fasting has been found to increase growth hormone production, which can also aid in reducing abdominal fat.17

Sauna

Saunas are becoming increasingly popular as a way to lose weight and improve overall health. While many people associate saunas with relaxation and detoxification, they also offer a number of benefits when it comes to losing visceral fat.18

Lose Visceral Fat - Sauna

Stop Drinking Alcohol

One of the main contributors to visceral fat is excessive alcohol consumption. When we drink alcohol, our liver prioritizes breaking down the toxins in alcohol over metabolizing fat. As a result, any calories from food that would normally be used for energy are stored as fat. Additionally, drinking too much alcohol can lead to poor food choices and overeating, further contributing to an increase in visceral fat.

To lose visceral fat, one of the most effective steps you can take is to stop drinking alcohol. By eliminating or reducing alcohol consumption, your liver can focus on metabolizing fat instead of breaking down toxins. This will lead to a decrease in stored fat and overall weight loss.19

Moreover, quitting or cutting down on alcohol can also improve your overall health and well-being. Alcohol has been linked to increased inflammation in the body, which can contribute to various health issues including obesity and liver disease. By reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, you may see improvements in these areas as well.20

Improve Sleep Quality

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between poor sleep quality and increased levels of visceral fat. When we don’t get enough quality sleep, our body’s production of cortisol, a stress hormone, increases. This can lead to an increase in appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods that can contribute to weight gain. In addition, lack of sleep can disrupt the balance of hormones responsible for regulating metabolism and energy expenditure, making it harder for us to lose weight.21

Reduce Stress

Stress has become a common part of our daily lives and it can have significant effects on our health. High levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can increase the amount of visceral fat in our bodies. This is because these hormones trigger the release of glucose into the bloodstream, which then gets converted to fat if it is not used for energy. Furthermore, stress can also lead to emotional eating or cravings for unhealthy foods, leading to weight gain and an increase in visceral fat.22

The Key To Being Healthy And Avoiding Chronic Diseases

By reducing the amount of visceral fat in your body, you can lower your risk for developing chronic diseases and improve your overall health. Losing visceral fat can also lead to a slimmer waistline, which not only improves your appearance but also has significant health benefits.

Read more about losing weight.

References

1 Xu R, Hu X, Wang T, Yang Y, Jiang N, Luo J, Zhang X, Patel AB, Dmytriw AA, Jiao L. Visceral Adiposity and Risk of Stroke: A Mendelian Randomization Study. Front Neurol. 2022 Apr 11;13:804851. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2022.804851. PMID: 35481268; PMCID: PMC9035635.

2 Chiba Y, Saitoh S, Takagi S, Ohnishi H, Katoh N, Ohata J, Nakagawa M, Shimamoto K. Relationship between visceral fat and cardiovascular disease risk factors: the Tanno and Sobetsu study. Hypertens Res. 2007 Mar;30(3):229-36. doi: 10.1291/hypres.30.229. PMID: 17510504.

3 Fukuda T, Bouchi R, Takeuchi T, Nakano Y, Murakami M, Minami I, Izumiyama H, Hashimoto K, Yoshimoto T, Ogawa Y. Ratio of visceral-to-subcutaneous fat area predicts cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Diabetes Investig. 2018 Mar;9(2):396-402. doi: 10.1111/jdi.12713. Epub 2017 Aug 14. PMID: 28686352; PMCID: PMC5835471.

4 Miazgowski T, Taszarek A, Miazgowski B. Visceral fat, cardiometabolic risk factors, and nocturnal blood pressure fall in young adults with primary hypertension. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2019 Sep;21(9):1406-1414. doi: 10.1111/jch.13639. Epub 2019 Aug 1. PMID: 31369205; PMCID: PMC8030343.

5 Zahn K, Linseisen J, Heier M, Peters A, Thorand B, Nairz F, Meisinger C. Body fat distribution and risk of incident ischemic stroke in men and women aged 50 to 74 years from the general population. The KORA Augsburg cohort study. PLoS One. 2018 Feb 5;13(2):e0191630. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191630. PMID: 29401461; PMCID: PMC5798769.

7 Nishizawa A, Cuelho A, de Farias-Itao DS, Campos FM, Leite REP, Ferretti-Rebustini REL, Grinberg LT, Nitrini R, Jacob-Filho W, Pasqualucci CA, Suemoto CK. Direct Measurements of Abdominal Visceral Fat and Cognitive Impairment in Late Life: Findings From an Autopsy Study. Front Aging Neurosci. 2019 May 7;11:109. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2019.00109. PMID: 31133846; PMCID: PMC6524696.

8 Ellulu MS, Patimah I, Khaza’ai H, Rahmat A, Abed Y. Obesity and inflammation: the linking mechanism and the complications. Arch Med Sci. 2017 Jun;13(4):851-863. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2016.58928. Epub 2016 Mar 31. PMID: 28721154; PMCID: PMC5507106.

9 García-Sánchez A, Gámez-Nava JI, Díaz-de la Cruz EN, Cardona-Muñoz EG, Becerra-Alvarado IN, Aceves-Aceves JA, Sánchez-Rodríguez EN, Miranda-Díaz AG. The Effect of Visceral Abdominal Fat Volume on Oxidative Stress and Proinflammatory Cytokines in Subjects with Normal Weight, Overweight and Obesity. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2020 Apr 8;13:1077-1087. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S245494. PMID: 32308457; PMCID: PMC7152535.

10 Matulewicz N, Karczewska-Kupczewska M. Insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2016 Dec 20;70(0):1245-1258. PMID: 28026827.

11 Yoshida T, Hashimoto M, Kawahara R, Yamamoto H, Tanaka M, Ito H, Masuda I, Hosoda K, Yamamoto W, Uozumi R, Morita S, Fujii Y, Mimori T, Nin K. Non-obese visceral adiposity is associated with the risk of atherosclerosis in Japanese patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a cross-sectional study. Rheumatol Int. 2018 Sep;38(9):1679-1689. doi: 10.1007/s00296-018-4095-0. Epub 2018 Jul 4. PMID: 29974186; PMCID: PMC6105136.

12 de Jager S, Coetzee N, Coetzee V. Facial Adiposity, Attractiveness, and Health: A Review. Front Psychol. 2018 Dec 21;9:2562. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02562. PMID: 30622491; PMCID: PMC6308207.

13 Konieczna J, Morey M, Abete I, Bes-Rastrollo M, Ruiz-Canela M, Vioque J, Gonzalez-Palacios S, Daimiel L, Salas-Salvadó J, Fiol M, Martín V, Estruch R, Vidal J, Martínez-González MA, Canudas S, Jover AJ, Fernández-Villa T, Casas R, Olbeyra R, Buil-Cosiales P, Babio N, Schröder H, Martínez JA, Romaguera D; PREDIMED-Plus investigators. Contribution of ultra-processed foods in visceral fat deposition and other adiposity indicators: Prospective analysis nested in the PREDIMED-Plus trial. Clin Nutr. 2021 Jun;40(6):4290-4300. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2021.01.019. Epub 2021 Jan 28. PMID: 33610419.

14 Wang R, Zhang X, Ren H, Zhou H, Yuan Y, Chai Y, Hou X. Effects of different exercise types on visceral fat in young individuals with obesity aged 6-24 years old: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Front Physiol. 2022 Sep 26;13:987804. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2022.987804. Erratum in: Front Physiol. 2022 Nov 25;13:1092794. PMID: 36246116; PMCID: PMC9562999.

15 Ito S. High-intensity interval training for health benefits and care of cardiac diseases – The key to an efficient exercise protocol. World J Cardiol. 2019 Jul 26;11(7):171-188. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v11.i7.171. PMID: 31565193; PMCID: PMC6763680.

16 Arciero PJ, Poe M, Mohr AE, Ives SJ, Arciero A, Sweazea KL, Gumpricht E, Arciero KM. Intermittent fasting and protein pacing are superior to caloric restriction for weight and visceral fat loss. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2023 Feb;31 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):139-149. doi: 10.1002/oby.23660. Epub 2022 Dec 27. PMID: 36575144; PMCID: PMC10107279.

17 Kim BH, Joo Y, Kim MS, Choe HK, Tong Q, Kwon O. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on the Circulating Levels and Circadian Rhythms of Hormones. Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2021 Aug;36(4):745-756. doi: 10.3803/EnM.2021.405. Epub 2021 Aug 27. PMID: 34474513; PMCID: PMC8419605.

18 Podstawski R, Borysławski K, Clark CCT, Choszcz D, Finn KJ, Gronek P. Correlations between Repeated Use of Dry Sauna for 4 x 10 Minutes, Physiological Parameters, Anthropometric Features, and Body Composition in Young Sedentary and Overweight Men: Health Implications. Biomed Res Int. 2019 Jan 21;2019:7535140. doi: 10.1155/2019/7535140. PMID: 30800676; PMCID: PMC6360547.

19 Cigolini M, Targher G, Bergamo Andreis IA, Tonoli M, Filippi F, Muggeo M, De Sandre G. Moderate alcohol consumption and its relation to visceral fat and plasma androgens in healthy women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 Mar;20(3):206-12. PMID: 8653140.

20 Sun FR, Wang BY. Alcohol and Metabolic-associated Fatty Liver Disease. J Clin Transl Hepatol. 2021 Oct 28;9(5):719-730. doi: 10.14218/JCTH.2021.00173. Epub 2021 Jul 19. PMID: 34722187; PMCID: PMC8516839.

21 Giannos P, Prokopidis K, Candow DG, Forbes SC, Celoch K, Isanejad M, Pekovic-Vaughan V, Witard OC, Gabriel BM, Scott D. Shorter sleep duration is associated with greater visceral fat mass in US adults: Findings from NHANES, 2011-2014. Sleep Med. 2023 May;105:78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2023.03.013. Epub 2023 Mar 15. PMID: 36966579.

22 Delker E, AlYami B, Gallo LC, Ruiz JM, Szklo M, Allison MA. Chronic Stress Burden, Visceral Adipose Tissue, and Adiposity-Related Inflammation: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Psychosom Med. 2021 Oct 1;83(8):834-842. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000983. PMID: 34292207; PMCID: PMC8490301.

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