The #1 Cause of Visceral Fat, According to Science — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


Visceral fat is a type of fat that accumulates around the organs in the abdominal cavity and is linked to a number of health risks. It is important to understand the causes of visceral fat in order to take steps to reduce it. According to science, the number one cause of visceral fat is an unhealthy diet. Eating too much processed and sugary foods, as well as foods high in saturated fat, can lead to an increase in visceral fat. Eating This Not That is a website dedicated to helping people make healthier food choices and reduce their risk of developing visceral fat. This article will discuss the science behind the number one cause of visceral fat and provide tips on how to make healthier food choices.

The #1 Cause of Visceral Fat, According to Science

Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, is a type of fat that accumulates around the organs in the abdominal cavity. It is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. But what is the #1 cause of visceral fat, according to science?

The Answer: Eating Too Much Sugar

Studies have shown that consuming too much sugar is the primary cause of visceral fat. This is because sugar is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. This triggers the release of insulin, which helps the body store the excess sugar as fat, particularly in the abdominal area.

In addition, sugar is highly addictive and can lead to overeating. This can cause weight gain, which can further contribute to the accumulation of visceral fat.

How to Reduce Visceral Fat

The best way to reduce visceral fat is to reduce your intake of sugar. This means avoiding sugary drinks, processed foods, and sweets. Instead, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

In addition, regular physical activity is important for reducing visceral fat. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking, jogging, or cycling, most days of the week.

By following these simple steps, you can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases and improve your overall health.

Belly fat. Few words inspire more fear in the hearts of health-minded people. And for good reason. Visceral fat—the technical term for belly fat—is more than just a pooch that develops around your waistline in response to too much beer and simple carbs. It can actually be quite dangerous. Read on to find out more about those health risks, the primary cause of visceral fat, and what you can do to prevent it—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.

Obese man wearing tight red shirt, oversize clothing problem, insecurities

Unlike subcutaneous fat—the jiggly fat under the skin that you can grab or pinch—visceral fat surrounds organs deep within the abdomen, like the stomach, liver, and intestines. It’s not just an aesthetic concern. According to the Cleveland Clinic, excess visceral fat raises your risk of serious metabolic disorders, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Sleep apnea

In women, visceral fat is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery, says Harvard Medical School. 

The more visceral fat you have, the higher your chance of developing these issues.

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Obese man measuring his waist.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you may be more likely to experience health problems from visceral fat if your waist is more than 40 inches if you’re a woman, or your waist is more than 35 inches if you’re a man. 

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Research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active,” says Harvard Medical School. “It’s appropriate to think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect our health.”

Among those negative effects: visceral fat may increase the production of inflammatory substances in the body that raise the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat’s proximity to the liver and pancreas could also increase “bad” cholesterol and inhibit the body from breaking down fat and processing blood sugar. 

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obese woman

The #1 cause of visceral fat seems to be poor diet, particularly one that’s high in added sugar and simple carbohydrates (which the body quickly converts to sugar). That leads to weight gain that’s often difficult to lose, particularly in the abdominal area. 

“​​Fructose, or sugar, causes fat cells to mature faster, specifically in the visceral fat,” says the Cleveland Clinic. “A diet filled with fructose-containing sodas or drinks not only increases your calorie intake, but it impacts how the belly fat develops.” 

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The easiest way to reduce visceral fat is to lose weight. Ditching sugar-sweetened drinks like sodas and processed foods are a good start. Eat more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. “Weight loss alone can effectively reduce visceral fat,” says W. Scott Butsch, MD, an obesity medicine specialist with the Cleveland Clinic. “By losing 10% of your body weight, you may lose up to 30% of your body fat.” 

Experts also say exercise is crucial to slashing belly fat; diet won’t do it alone, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. Moderate physical activity combined with strength training seems to work best. 

And be sure to get enough sleep. Researchers at Wake Forest University found that dieters who sleep five hours or less every night put on 2 1/2 times more belly fat than people who slept adequately (meaning seven to nine hours a night). And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.