Visceral fat neighbours vital organs in the body, such as the liver and intestines. It forms one part of metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that increase your risk of heart disease. The harmful belly fat can also hamper insulin production – a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Acetic acid (AcOH), a main component of vinegar, has been found to suppress body fat accumulation in animal studies.
This finding prompted researchers to investigate the effects of vinegar intake on the reduction of body fat mass in obese Japanese in a double-blind trial.
The subjects were randomly assigned to three groups of similar body weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference.
BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.
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During the 12-week treatment period, the subjects in each group ingested 500 ml daily of a beverage containing either 15 ml of vinegar, 30 ml of vinegar or 0 ml of vinegar.
Body weight, BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, and serum triglyceride levels were significantly lower in both vinegar intake groups than in the placebo group.
“In conclusion, daily intake of vinegar might be useful in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity,” wrote the researchers.
General dietary tips to reduce visceral fat
According to Bupa, if you want to reduce your belly fat, you’ll need to burn more calories (energy) than you consume, and eat the right kinds of food.
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The health body recommends the following:
- Make sure you eat a balanced diet. Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg each day, and include higher-fibre starchy foods in meals
- Have some reduced-fat dairy or soya drinks fortified in calcium
- Eat more beans, pulses, fish and eggs
- Eat small amounts of unsaturated oil
- Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
- Avoid adding salt or sugar to your meals.
“And finally, cut out sports drinks, sugar sweetened drinks and other foods that have a lot of added sugar in them,” it advises.
“Be aware that low-fat options might have high amounts of added sugar in them.”
In addition to eating well, you should engage in regular physical exercise.
“Also create opportunities to add motion to routine tasks,” advises Harvard Health.
“For example, park farther from your destination and walk the rest of the way, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and stand while you talk on the phone.”
What’s more, evidence suggests increasing sleep may reduce visceral fat.
A six-year study including 293 people found that increasing sleep from six hours or less to seven to eight hours reduced visceral fat gain by roughly 26 percent.