Visceral fat is stored in the abdominal cavity next to many vital organs, including the liver, pancreas and intestines. For this reason, excess visceral fat is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and heart disease. A high build-up of visceral fat can be caused by high saturated fat consumption. Saturated fat is considered a ‘bad’ fat, especially when eaten in large amounts, and can be found in butter, cheese and red meat.
But not all fats are bad, and some have even been found to help aid visceral fat loss.
A study carried out by the American Diabetes Association found a higher intake of monounsaturated fats led to lower central fat distribution.
Monounsaturated fat is a type of unsaturated fat which are generally found in plant foods. Another is polyunsaturated.
Trans-fats, which are known as bad fats, can have a negative impact on your body.
Wake Forest University researchers found a diet high in trans-fats doesn’t just contribute to overall belly fat, but also helps to shift fat from other areas to the belly.
Cooking oil falls under the category of fats, so which ones are unsaturated and which ones should you eat less of?
According to the British Dietetic Association (BDA), you should opt for:
- Sunflower oil
- Olive oil
- Rapeseed oil
Sunflower oil contains polyunsaturated fat and olive and rapeseed oils contain monounsaturated fat.
Cooking oils that contain saturated fats include palm oil and coconut oil.
Another type of fat which is considered healthy is omega-3 fats.
The BDA explains: “Are a type of polyunsaturated fat, and are often called ‘essential’ fatty acids as the body cannot make enough.
“The best sources are oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and pilchards.
“Other sources include nuts and seeds e.g. walnuts and pumpkin seeds; vegetable oils e.g. rapeseed and linseed; soya and soya products e.g. beans, milk and tofu; and green leafy vegetables as well as enriched foods including some eggs, milk and yogurts.”
Alongside eating a healthy diet, regular exercise is also key to losing visceral fat. Experts have revealed the best type of exercise.