Avocados target belly fat and ‘speed up’ fat burning – nutritionist

Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning

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We all have visceral fat in our bodies. A certain amount is necessary to keep us healthy, as it lies deep in the belly protecting and insulating our organs. Unlike subcutaneous fat, found under the skin, it can’t be seen.

However, too much visceral fat can be harmful.

Storing an excessive amount of visceral fat in the belly can result in a range of issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

As you would expect, having too much visceral fat is caused by eating too many calories and not exercising enough.

But there are some foods that could help you shed visceral fat.

Registered dietitian and fitness expert for JustCBD, Nataly Komova, recommended eating avocados as a way to reduce belly fat.

“Avocado is an excellent source of fibre,” she explained.

“Due to this, it can suppress your appetite, allowing you to keep your calorie consumption in check.

“Avocados are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which elevate your metabolic rate and speed up fat burning.”

This was backed by a study conducted by the University of Illinois in 2021.

The research, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that women who ate meals with avocado every day for 12 weeks had a reduction in visceral abdominal fat.

As part of the trial, participants were split into two groups.

One group was given meals that incorporated a fresh avocado, while the other received a meal that had similar ingredients and calories but did not contain avocado.

Female participants eating avocados also showed a reduction in the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, which implies a redistribution of fat away from the organs.

However, the male participants did not experience this change.

Speaking in Science Daily, study co-author Richard Mackenzie said: “Our research not only sheds a valuable light on benefits of daily avocado consumption on the different types of fat distribution across genders, it provides us with a foundation to conduct further work to understand the full impact avocados have on body fat and health.

“By taking our research further, we will be able to gain a clearer picture into which types of people would benefit most from incorporating avocados into their diets and deliver valuable data for health care advisers to provide patients with guidance on how to reduce fat storage and the potential dangers of diabetes.”

It is not possible to know exactly how much visceral fat you have without imaging tests.

But you can get a rough estimate by measuring your waist using the belly button as a marker.

For women 35 inches or more can signal visceral fat and for men it’s 40 inches.

If you have too much visceral fat you can be at greater risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • High cholesterol.

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