Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat is also referred to as belly fat and is a complicated type of fat to lose in that there are many mechanics at work which can either help or hinder visceral fat loss. Ghrelin for instance is a hormone which slows down a person’s metabolism and increases their appetite. This is when diet becomes key in helping to shift belly fat with one particular diet shown to help reduce ghrelin, increase the metabolism and help to burn belly fat.
Protein may be the most important macronutrient when it comes to shifting visceral fat.
Research shows it can reduce cravings by 60 percent, boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day, and help a person eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.
Not only can protein help you to lose belly fat, but it may also help a person from regaining weight.
Protein may be particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat.
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, postprandial thermogenesis in high-protein, low-fat diets compared to high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets were further investigated.
The study noted: “The recent literature suggests that high-protein, low-fat diets promote a greater degree of weight loss compared to high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets, but the mechanism of this enhanced weight loss is unclear.
“This study compared the acute, energy-cost of meal-induced thermogenesis on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet.”
The study involved ten healthy, normal weight female participants aged 19 to 22 years and consumed a diet of either high-protein or high-carbohydrate diets one for each day.
The study found that postprandial thermogenesis at 2.5 hours post-meal averaged about twofold higher on the high protein diet versus the high carbohydrate diet, and differences were significant after the breakfast and the dinner meals.
Postprandial thermogenesis is crucial when it comes to abdominal obesity and helping to burn more belly fat.
The results concluded that added energy-cost associated with high-protein, low-fat diets and may help explain the efficacy of such diets for belly fat loss.
In another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a high-protein diet in reducing appetite, libitum caloric intake and body weight with changes in plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations was analysed.
Ad libitum, low-carbohydrate diets decrease caloric intake and cause weight loss, noted the study.
It continued: “It is unclear whether these effects are due to the reduced carbohydrate content of such diets or to their associated increase in protein intake.
“We tested the hypothesis that increasing the protein content while maintaining the carbohydrate content of the diet lowers body weight by decreasing appetite and spontaneous caloric intake.”
The study found that an increase in dietary protein from 15 percent to 30 percent of energy at a constant carbohydrate intake produces a sustained decrease in ad libitum caloric intake that results in significant weight loss.
The effect of ghrelin on belly fat
Ghrelin stimulates the brain, which leads to an increase in appetite, and it slows metabolism and decreasing the body’s ability to burn fat.
Ghrelin also favours the amassing of fatty tissue in the abdominal area.
Protein induces prolonged ghrelin suppression and elevation of gut-derived anorexigenic hormones that delay gastric emptying regardless of the type of protein consumed.
Therefore, a high protein diet helps to reduce ghrelin which in turn helps to burn belly fat.
Health experts warn that regardless of your height or BMI, you should aim to lose weight if:
You are a man with a waist measurement of 94 cm (37 inches) or more
You’re a woman with a waist measuring 80 cm (31.5 inches) or more
Serious health problems could occur if:
You are a man with a waist measurement of 102 cm (40 inches),
You’re a woman with a waist measuring higher that 88cm (34 inches).
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