Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat is stored near vital organs in the body, such as the liver and intestines. It forms one part of metabolic syndrome; a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Research has sought to find effective dietary interventions for combatting visceral fat.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition evaluated the impact brown rice consumption can have on visceral fat.
“Brown rice and white rice produce different glycaemic responses and their consumption may affect the dietary management of obesity,” explained the study’s authors.
The glycaemic response to a food or meal is the effect that food or meal has on blood sugar (glucose levels) after consumption.
For the study, the effects of Brown rice and White rice on abdominal fat distribution, metabolic parameters and endothelial function were evaluated in subjects with metabolic syndrome.
What did the researchers find out?
In comparison to white rice, the study participants’ “weight-based parameters” decreased after consuming brown rice for eight weeks.
In addition to weight loss benefits, insulin resistance and total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels were reduced after consumption of brown rice.
Insulin resistance is a precursor to type 2 diabetes and LDL cholesterol hikes your risk of heart disease.
Why choose brown rice?
Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate. According to health body BMI Healthcare, complex carbohydrates release energy slowly and help to regulate our blood sugar levels.
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Other examples of complex carbs include:
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Wholegrain pasta
- Wholemeal breads.
Other key dietary tips
Eating protein can help to reduce visceral fat.
Bupa explains: “Protein can be a helpful way to lose weight because it makes you feel fuller than carbs and fat do.”
“If you include a lean source of protein, such as skinless white chicken, in your meals you may find that you’re not as hungry, and so eat less.”
Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, mackerel, salmon, eggs, milk, red lentils, chickpeas, brown bread, nuts and soya.
To maximise the benefits of eating well, you should engage in regular exercise.
Studies have shown that you can help trim visceral fat or prevent its growth with both aerobic activity and strength training.
What counts as moderate aerobic activity?
Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer.
One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing.
Examples of moderate intensity activities:
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- Riding a bike
Strength training falls under the category of vigorous activity – exercises performed in short bursts of maximum effort broken up with rest.
Lifting heavy weights is an example of strength training.
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