Visceral fat: The 75p drink that can ‘speed up your metabolism’ to burn belly fat in weeks

Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning

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Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, is stored in your abdominal cavity, sharing space with important organs such as the liver, stomach, kidneys, and intestines. This dicey positioning means having high levels of visceral fat can increase the risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Finding ways to reduce visceral fat is therefore vital.

Research suggests drinking catechin-enriched green tea can significantly reduce belly fat within weeks.

What is catechin-enriched green tea?

Green tea leaves are steamed or roasted to prevent oxidation, meaning they keep their green colour and fresh flavour.

Green tea contains a group of antioxidants called polyphenols, which make up to 30 percent of its dry weight. Most of these are flavonols, commonly known as catechins.

Recent findings from human studies have found that consuming green tea and green tea extracts may help to reduce body weight and fat, by increasing our bodies’ metabolism and fat oxidisation.

Several studies suggest that green tea helps “speed up your metabolism so that you burn more calories, even when you’re resting”, reports Holland and Barrett.

What the evidence says

One study of note, published in the Journal of Functional Foods, investigated the effects of catechin-enriched green tea on Chinese adults with a high proportion of visceral fat.

Subjects (118) were randomly assigned to consume daily a beverage containing 609.3mg catechins and 68.7mg caffeine or a control beverage for 12 weeks. Visceral fat area, body weight and composition were measured at week zero, week eight, and week 12.

One hundred and four subjects completed the trial. Average visceral fat area, body weight, and body fat were reduced “significantly” by catechin-enriched green tea treatment but these effects were not seen in the control group, the researchers wrote.

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The decrease at week 12 in the visceral fat area in the catechin group was greater than that in the control group.

“Thus, consumption of the catechin-enriched green tea beverage for 12 weeks induced visceral fat loss in Chinese adults with a high proportion of abdominal visceral fat,” the researchers concluded.

How much green tea do I need to drink?

How many cups of green tea you should drink a day for weight loss is open to debate.

Holland and Barret explains: “Opinions vary on this subject, with some studies suggesting you only need to drink one cup a day, while others say that you should drink between three to five cups a day.”

According to the health body, drinking two to three cups of green tea a day seems to be a sensible option if you are trying to lose weight, or simply swapping all your hot drinks for green tea.

“Everyone is different and so are our metabolisms and tolerance for caffeine, so just play around and see what consumption is best for you.”

As it points out, green tea is very low in calories and has so many suggested health benefits that it is unlikely to do you any harm.

Other important tips

Regular exercise can also deal a decisive blow to belly fat.

“Any form of exercise for at least 30 minutes a day is good for you,” says Bupa.

The health body continues: “Use every opportunity to become fit whether you are at home, at work or with friends. This could include cycling to work or getting off the bus or train one or two stops early.

There are lots of exercises you can try but “combining resistance (strength) exercise and cardiovascular exercise is ideal”, it says.

“But, if you’re able and would like a boost for your exercise regime, I’d really recommend you do high intensity interval training (or HIIT for short).”

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