The first thing that is important to make clear is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having some abdominal fat. In fact, having the right essential fatty acids is key to isolate and protect vital organs, as well as to store energy in the body through adipose tissue. However, far beyond an aesthetic issue, having visceral fat brings with it some health problems. Among the main ones are an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and a long list of degenerative diseases.
For those who are not very clear, visceral fat is the fat that lies under the abdominal muscle and collects around internal organssuch as the intestines, stomach, and liver. Due to the location of this fat, it has the potential to put physical pressure on the surrounding organs and potentially cause health problems. Therefore it is related to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, hypertension and is also one of the main causes of insulin resistance.
Also, it is important to mention that excess visceral fat releases hormones directly related to inflammation, which is well known to be the origin of various chronic diseases and is a condition that affects the health of internal organs and blood vessels. Although there are many factors that are usually associated with excess abdominal or visceral fat, among the main ones are: chronic stress, poor rest, leading a sedentary lifestyle, high alcohol consumption and of course excessive intake of calories. It is because of that making adjustments to your diet is one of the best long-term measures. Now just as there are foods that shine for their nutrient density, are low in calories and promote the burning of fats, which are simply essential; there are specific foods that considerably increase the risk.
1. Refined grains
In recent months everything has been said about refined grains and the main problem is that they are refined carbohydrates that are highly processed and that tend to lose most of their nutritional virtues. They are most commonly found in baked goods, including cakes, cookies, donuts, desserts, pasta, and white bread. Grains are refined when food manufacturers remove the bran and germ from them through a process called milling, the problem is that during this process removes most nutrients and fiber that contains the grain naturally. The result is highly processed carbohydrates and from which products made with refined white flour are released, they are characterized by having a longer life span. It is worth mentioning that unprocessed carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread and brown rice are part of a healthy diet, however excessively refined carbohydrates are one of the main causes of the increase in abdominal fat. They promote inflammation, in addition to being associated with a long list of chronic conditions, therefore to reduce the chances of developing visceral fat, it is essential to change refined carbohydrates for wholemeal options.
We all know: alcohol in excess will always have negative health consequences. Alcohol is a depressant of the nervous system, it usually affects cardiovascular health, it is related to hypertension, liver and kidney damage and even depression. In addition, it is associated with weight gain and, above all, its recurrent consumption is one of the main factors of accumulation of visceral fat Worst? Regardless of how healthy a person’s diet is, if you usually drink alcohol several times a week, one of the most direct damages will be the accumulation of visceral fat. While small amounts can actually provide some positive health attributes, increased alcohol intake can cause inflammation, adversely affect the liver and is related to excess abdominal fat.
3. Trans fats
Currently, new regulations have been created regarding the addition of trans fats in the food industry, however in technically packaged foods, only artificial artificial trans fats known as partially hydrogenated oils or PHO. This type of fat is formed during the manufacturing of processed foods and is considered the least healthy form of fat that exists. There are also naturally occurring trans fats in animal products, however there is not enough comprehensive research to conclude whether animal-based trans fats are as harmful to human health as artificial ones. In such a way that several studies have come to light in which the consumption of trans fats is related to abdominal fat and they are also actively related to an increase in inflammation in the body. That is why they play a fairly negative role in the development of chronic diseases. Avoiding trans fats is one of the best health measures and the easiest way to achieve it is avoiding the consumption of processed foods and anything prepared with butter and margarine. It should be mentioned that they are also found in many fast foods, especially fried foods. In addition, these fats are the deadliest enemy of cardiovascular health and body weight.
4. Sugary drinks
Another latent enemy of good health: sugar in all its artificial forms. By now we all know that refined sugars are in a long list of foods and industrial drinks for everyday consumption. It is important to be especially careful with beverages that on many occasions we tend to forget their caloric intake, their content of added sugars and chemicals that deteriorate health. As is the case with commercial teas and coffees, soft drinks, energy drinks and smoothies, stand out for their refined sugar content. Its recurring intake can contribute significantly to visceral fat. According to a fairly recent 2020 study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that long-term consumption of added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with a higher visceral adipose tissue in participants.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.