The amount of visceral fat inside your body can be linked with the amount of jiggly fat you carry, but the insidious fat can be deceitful – hiding away in an otherwise thin frame. Which simple swap can you do to reduce it?
Published in the scientific journal The Lancet, scientists examined the health risks of consuming one type of beverage.
They found that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fruit juice, can carry the same risk for abdominal fat gain as other fizzy drinks.
Nutrition Data pointed out that an eight-ounce (240ml) serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar.
Another research paper, published in Science Daily, looked into the link between sweetened beverages and visceral fat.
The research team extracted data from the Framingham Heart Study that showed there was a direct correlation between greater sweetened beverage consumption and increased visceral fat levels in middle-aged adults.
The experiment involved 1,003 participants – both men and women – who had the average age of 45.
As participants, they answered food questionnaires and underwent CT scans to measure visceral fat levels.
All the participants were ranked into four categories, based on how often they consumed sugar-sweetened beverages:
They were either grouped as non-drinkers; occasional drinkers (consuming sugar sweetened beverages once a month or less); frequent drinkers (once a week or less); and those who drank at least one sugar sweetened beverage daily.
Over a six-year follow-up period, independent of the participants’ age, gender, physical activity body mass index, they found the following:
- An increase of visceral fat volume of 658cms for non drinkers;
- 649cms for occasional drinkers;
- 707cms for frequent drinkers;
- 852cms for those who consumed one sugar sweetened drink daily.
Clearly, the results indicate that consuming sugar sweetened beverages is linked to increased visceral fat levels – a thought echoed by the lead author of the study.
Dr Caroline Fox said: “There is evidence linking sugar-sweetened beverages with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
“Although the exact biological mechanism is unknown, co-author Dr Jiantao Ma added that “it’s possible that added sugars may contribute to insulin resistance”.
The researchers said that “sucrose or high fructose corn syrup are the two most common sugars found in fruit juice”.
In order to help shift excess harmful belly fat, it’d be best to swap fruit juices for water – still or sparkling.
The Department of Health states that there is no sugar in water and around six teaspoonfuls of sugar (equivalent to 24 grams) in one cup of 100 percent fruit juice.
How sugar is linked to visceral fat
Aside from the evidence highlighting that excess sugar is linked to increased visceral fat levels, how does this happen?
Eating sugar causes insulin levels to rise in the body. “Insulin is known as the ‘fat-storing’ hormone,” begins Dr Vera Tarman.
“Refined sugar overwhelms our natural hormonal treatment of sugar and the body takes the excess sugar and parks it into the abdomen,” she added.
This is why replacing fruit juice with water is a great way to help shed the harmful belly fat.
If you’d like to do more to reduce visceral fat levels, partake in aerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercises include swimming, jogging, running, skipping and riding a bicycle.