Visceral fat, also known as belly fat, lies perilously close to vital organs, such as the liver and intestines. Among other things, carrying too much visceral fat makes you uniquely vulnerable to having a heart attack. According to Dr Hanieh Mohammadi, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the reason abdominal obesity is very common in people with a first heart attack is that it is closely linked with conditions that accelerate the clogging of arteries through atherosclerosis, a disease whereby plaque builds up inside your arteries.
What’s more, the quantity of alcohol consumed within a 24-hour period also appears to play a role.
In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, daily drinkers who consumed less than one drink per day tended to have the least abdominal fat, while those who drank less often but consumed four or more drinks on “drinking days” were most likely to have excess belly fat.
Ideally, of course, you would swap out alcohol for healthier drinking choices altogether.
Certain beverages contain properties that have been shown to actively reduce visceral fat, although the effects may be modest.
According to Harvard Health, the starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is engaging in regular moderate-intensity physical activity.
The health site advises doing at least 30 minutes per day (and perhaps up to 60 minutes per day) to control weight and lose belly fat.
“Strength training (exercising with weights) may also help fight abdominal fat,” notes the health body.
It adds: “Spot exercising, such as doing sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but it won’t get at visceral fat.”