The accumulation of adipose tissue in the body portends bad symptoms, but the accumulation of visceral fat poses particularly serious health risks.
Visceral fat has been attributed to a number of life-threatening conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The location of the fat explains its lethality – it is located near vital organs in the body.
Most people focus on subcutaneous fat, but this type of fat does not present the same level of threat. Visceral fat may seem more difficult to change because it is stored out of reach, while there are proven methods to combat it.
Improving your diet holds the key to reducing belly fat, and evidence suggests that increasing your intake of a certain food can aid in this endeavor.
And a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that people who ate several servings of whole grains daily while limiting their intake of refined grains appeared to have lower visceral fat.
Researchers at the USDA HNRCA Center for Human Nutrition Research on Aging at Tufts University observed lower amounts of visceral fat in people who chose to eat mostly whole grains rather than refined grains.
Lead author Nicola McCune, Ph.D., a scientist at the University of HNRCA’s Nutritional Epidemiology Program, said: “For example, a slice of whole wheat bread with 100% or half a cup of oatmeal represents one serving of whole grains “A slice of white bread or half a cup of white rice represents a serving of refined grains.”
The research team examined diet questionnaires submitted by 2,834 men and women enrolled in the Framingham Heart Offspring and Third Generation Study Group.
Participants, between the ages of 32 and 83, underwent computerized tomography (MDCT) scans to determine VAT and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volumes.
In addition, in the current study, the formers noticed that participants who consumed, on average, three servings of whole grains, but who continued to eat many refined grains, did not show a low VAT volume.
“Wholegrain consumption does not appear to improve the VAT size if refined grains intake exceeds four or more servings per day. This finding indicates that it is important to make alternatives to the diet, rather than simply adding whole grain foods,” McCune said. Choose to cook brown rice instead of white or make a sandwich with whole grain bread instead of white bread.
In addition to improving your diet, exercise plays an essential role in reducing visceral fat. Strength training (weight training) may also help fight belly fat.