There are two types of abdominal fat – the kind you see and the kind you can’t see. The belly fat that you can pinch with your fingers and bulges out over the top of your jeans is called subcutaneous fat. It may not look pretty, but it’s less dangerous than another kind of fat called visceral fat. This is the type of fat that lies deep in the abdominal cavity and wraps itself around organs within the pelvis. Visceral fat can only be seen with the help of imaging studies such as MRI. It’s this type of fat that increases the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To stay healthy, you don’t want too much visceral fat hanging around.
Is there a way to reduce visceral abdominal fat? Visceral fat deep in the abdomen is more difficult to lose than subcutaneous belly fat that jiggles and bounces. One of the only ways to reduce is to do high-intensity exercise – but not everyone is up for that. Now, a new study shows that adding more fiber to your diet could help to reduce unhealthy visceral abdominal fat naturally.
Soluble Fiber to Melt Away Visceral Fat
Researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center discovered that every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber reduced unhealthy visceral fat by 3.7%. Soluble fiber is found in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grain foods. This is the type of fiber that lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease. Eating soluble fiber didn’t seem to have an effect on the subcutaneous fat in this study, but fiber fills you up so you’re less likely to overeat. This can help with weight control. Will fiber supplements to the same thing? They plan on doing a study to see if a fiber supplement works as well as dietary fiber for blasting away visceral belly fat.
Are You Getting Enough Soluble Fiber?
The American Dietetic Association recommends that people get between 20 and 35 grams of fiber a day. Unfortunately, most Americans aren’t listening. Sadly, the average person gets around 10 grams a day. This may be one of the reasons the girth of Americans continues to grow and the incidence of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure is on the rise.
How can you add more soluble fiber to your diet to help keep visceral fat at bay? Limit processed and packaged foods since they’ve been stripped of their fiber during processing. Add more fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and whole grains to the table, and you’ll boost the amount of soluble fiber in your diet naturally.
The Bottom Line?
It’s the fat you can’t see you have to worry about the most. If you’re not getting enough soluble fiber in your diet, you may be increasing your risk for health problems later. Take the advice of the American Dietetic Association and add more soluble fiber to your diet. It’s one of the few ways to decrease visceral belly fat.
Food Navigator – USA website. “Soluble Fiber May Cut Levels of Belly Fat”
American Dietetic Association website.