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17 Scientifically Proven Ways to Lose Body Fat – Visceral Fat and Subcutaneous Fat

A complete guide to lose visceral fat and subcutaneous fat

Obesity or body fat is the excessive accumulation of adipose tissue in our body due to an imbalance between a person’s food intake and energy expenditure.

Excess fat on our bodies is the bane of our existence. It is linked to several fatal and disabling diseases. We don’t like being obese and desperately want to get rid of it. But most of us don’t realize that there is no universal remedy to reduce body fat from one place of our choice. To learn how to lose fat, we must know the difference between Body Fat and Body Weight.

Body fat is the portion of your total weight that is fatty (adipose) tissue. Body Weight includes body fat and all other components of your body, including bone, organs, fluid, muscle, etc.

WHERE IS BODY FAT?

It is found in every part of the body. It’s located beneath the skin (subcutaneous fat), surrounding internal organs (visceral fat), between muscles, bone marrow, and breast tissue.

On average, fat represents 25% (≈15 kg) of body weight in females but only 15% (≈10 kg) of body weight in males.

Graphic showing visceral fat and subcutaneous fat
Credit: Harvard Medical School

What is Subcutaneous Fat?

Subcutaneous fat is the jiggly fat visible just under the skin. This fat is visible or can be pinched by hand.

Subcutaneous fat is deposited in the gluteofemoral region in females but in the abdominal area in males.

Subcutaneous fat is not necessarily a risk factor for health issues.

It is the layer of fatty tissue between the skin and muscles. According to Harvard Health, it is 90% of the total body fat. Subcutaneous fat does not cause harm. It can provide a few benefits to us.

  1. Energy Storage
  2. Passageway between muscles and skin
  3. Insulation provider to the body and temperature regulator
  4. Act as a protectant to internal organs.
  5. As an attachment to bones and connective tissues

Subcutaneous fat is a vital component of your body, but you may be at a higher risk for health issues if your body stores too much of it.

How to Measure Your Subcutaneous Fat:

  • One way is to measure via BMI, which gives the ratio of body and height that predicts your having excess fat.
  • Average weight: BMI of 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI of 25 to 29.9
  • Obesity: BMI of 30 or higher.

There is a complete research-based article on how to measure your body fat. Click here to read!

  • Another way is via measuring your waist. Measure your waist at the navel while your abdomen is relaxed. Next, measure your hips at their widest position, which is generally around the bony prominences. Finally, divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference:

Waist (in inches) / Hips (in inches) = ratio.

 Interpreting your waist circumference

Men Women
Low risk 37 inches and below 31.5 inches and below
Intermediate risk 37.1–39.9 inches 31.6–34.9 inches
High risk 40 inches and above 35 inches and above

 

Perfect Method for Measurement:

BMI is the best assessment of total body fatness, whereas waist measurement provides the best estimate of visceral fat and the risk of obesity-related illness. 

WHAT IS VISCERAL FAT?

Visceral fat is adipose which is hidden under the solid abdominal wall, out of reach. It covers the space around organs like the liver, intestines, gut, etc. It’s also kept in the omentum, an apron-like flap of tissue that covers the intestines and sits beneath the belly muscles.

According to Harvard Health, 10% of a person’s total body fat would be visceral fat. The more precise methods to measure the amount of visceral fat present in the body include CT scans and full-body MRIs, but these are expensive and rarely prescribed for solely fat measurement purposes.

A good indicator of having a high visceral fat level is a high BMI score (Body Mass Index) and a large waist. In women, 35 inches or more is a sign of visceral fat. In men, it’s 40 inches. An MRI scan or body fat analyzer is used to measure a person’s visceral fat result, and it will fall somewhere on a scale between 1 and 59. The safe range lies under 13 on this scale. If it’s more than this, then it can be an indicator of significant health risks.

Check out this post for a complete calculation of BMI. 

Effects of Increased Visceral Fat:

Like anything, excess of anything is wrong, so as for visceral fat. It can be an indicator of significant health risks such as;

According to research, fat cells, particularly abdominal fat cells, are physiologically active. Fat may be thought of as an endocrine organ or gland, releasing hormones and other chemicals. Although scientists are still working to understand the roles of specific hormones, it is apparent that excess body fat, particularly abdominal obesity, disturbs these hormones’ average balance and functioning.

According to 2015 research, persons who had a lot of visceral fat were more likely to die than those who had less subcutaneous fat. This indicates that those with less apparent fat are at a higher risk of mortality, at least in some situations. Several more research has come to similar findings.

HOW TO LOSE ABDOMINAL BODY FAT – VISCERAL FAT AND SUBCUTANEOUS FAT:

A plate with tiles of burn fat

Fat accumulation doesn’t only depend upon how sedentary your lifestyle is. But many factors include genetics, hormones, age, birth weight (smaller kids accumulate belly fat more easily later in life), and whether you’ve had children (pregnancy-related physiology). So, losing it also depends on all of this directly or indirectly.

Some of the most recommended methods by researchers to shed the belly fat are stated as below:

1. Keep a Check On Diet

Calculate your required calorie intake. Then estimate the burned calories. It is recommended to eat calories in lesser amounts than you burn. Read the labels mentioned on food packages and track your food. Many applications help you track your calorie intake. American Heart Association had recommended a healthy diet that covers all food groups. It is recommended to go for the Mediterranean diet. To see what food options you have, check out this post on what to eat.

2. Keep Moving cardio for body fat

Keeping yourself active is an essential part of reducing belly fat and providing other health benefits. Exercise also reduces inflammation, lowers blood sugar levels, and helps with other metabolic issues connected with extra belly fat. It was proven from another research that people who followed exercises did not regain belly fat even after one year.

Even if there is no weight loss in some people, there is always muscle gain and shaping up of the body seen. On most days, at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking or bicycling at an average pace, is usually recommended. Design your exercise regimen to fit your goals.

3. Do Cardio

Aerobic training, also called Cardio, is one of the best methods to enhance weight loss and burn extra calories.  Several studies support the health benefits along with the regular fat loss purpose of Cardio exercise. It is suggested by the US Department of Health and Human Services, to see significant results, you should engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. Some of the Cardio exercises are mentioned below:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Jogging
  • Stationary bike and cycling
  • Elliptical
  • Jump rope
  • Group fitness classes

Find out the intensity and frequency of exercise to do for every age group here.

4. Carry Out Resistance Training

Strength training may be an effective weight-loss technique and may aid in the reduction of abdominal fat. According to research, it is much more beneficial when combined with aerobic activity. You should seek a personal trainer to know how much resistance training will be practical for you or read about the specifics of training for each age group to get an idea.

5. Shiver a Bit!

Yes, all that winter shivering may be keeping you fit. A new study indicates that shivering may assist with weight reduction. According to this recent research, 15 minutes in the cold might have the same metabolic effect as one hour of exercise and is equally capable of accelerating the conversion of “white fat” to “brown fat” This makes brown fat a possible therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity and diabetes.

6. Eat Slowly to Reap the Benefits of Food.

Eating rapidly can result in weight gain over time. Over eight years, the study analyzed the weight changes of 529 men. Those who self-identified as rapid eaters acquired more than double the weight of those who self-identified as slow or medium-paced eaters.

On the other hand, eating slowly causes you to feel more satisfied and increases the production of weight-reducing hormones (ghrelin).

7. Eat More Protein.

To manage your weight, having protein is an essential part of your diet. Several researchers suggest that people who eat protein have less abdominal fat than those who eat less. There was another study done that proved the effectiveness of a high protein-based diet for fat loss.

Valuable sources of proteins can be either animal-based or plant-based. Contrary to what people believe, plant-based protein sources can be high in content and lower in calories, ideal for weight loss.

  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Diary
  • Fish
  • Whey protein
  • Beans and legumes
  • Chickpeas: It is a good source of protein and tends to make you feel fuller for longer. A study focused on the health benefits of chickpeas and their effects on weight loss. It showed that consuming 3 ounces of chickpeas daily can lower cholesterol levels up to 16 points!

Here’s how to decide how much protein you should consume without going overboard. Numerous factors influence your unique requirements. However, an average person needs the following: 

For the average male, 56–91 grams each day
For the average female, 46–75 grams each day

Eating a high-protein breakfast may help you lose weight by reducing your cravings and calorie intake over the day.

8. Cut off / Limit Carbohydrates

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Daily Value for carbs is 300 grams per day when eating a 2,000-calorie diet. Reducing carb intake up to 100-150gms/day is an effective strategy for weight loss.  Many pieces of research proved that carbs intake as low as 50gms per day could reduce belly fat and the risks of Type 2 DiabetesReplacing refined carbs with plant-based starchy carbs can reduce belly fat.

Other than fat loss, there are many other advantages of a low-carb diet. They can aid in the reduction of blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides. They can also assist in increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and improving the LDL (destructive) cholesterol pattern; consult with your physician for a diet that suits you best.

9. Eat More Soluble Fiber

Having more soluble fiber have the following benefits, It reduces your body’s ability to absorb fat, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reduces heart disease risk, and increases healthy gut bacteria, which lower inflammation in the body and help you digest better. Soluble fiber aids in the slowing of nutrient delivery to the gut. When this occurs, your body takes longer to digest and absorb nutrients, which might cause you to feel full for more extended periods.  The following are some suggestions for soluble fiber foods.

  • Flax seeds
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Avocados
  • Legumes
  • Bitter melon. Bitter melon enhances the action of AMPK (adenosine-5-monophosphate kinase) associated with fat release from fatty tissues and glucose uptake, thus supporting weight loss.
  • Interestingly, research indicates that soluble fiber can aid in fat loss by suppressing appetite.

10. Avoid Sugar and Sodas

Sugary drinks and sodas are worse than sugar foods when it comes to fat loss. There was a study proving that such drinks lead to high liver fat. Another study carried out the marked increase in weight among people who were drinking sugary beverages. One study discovered that a caffeine intake of 4.5 mg per pound of body weight (10 mg per kg) enhanced metabolism by up to 13%. Several sources say 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe for most healthy adults.

11. Caffeine Can Help

Caffeine can assist speed up metabolism and increase fat loss. According to research, caffeine can temporarily increase your metabolism by up to 16% for one to two hours.

Green tea has caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which appear to boost metabolism.

12. Avoid Alcohol

Reducing your alcohol consumption may help you lose weight. According to research, alcohol inhibits fat metabolism, and extra calories from alcohol are partly deposited as belly fat — hence the name “beer belly.” You don’t have to give it up completely, but cutting back on how much you drink in a day can help.

Drink coffee or green tea instead?

13. Reduce Stress Level

Weight gain also is caused by increased stress levels. It activates the production of Cortisol (Stress Hormone). Research proves this hormone increases appetite and causes increased abdominal fat. So, minimizing stress with yoga, relaxation techniques, or deep breathing plays a vital role in fat levels.

14. Get Sound Sleep

Sleep is essential for various reasons, and insufficient sleep is one of the most significant risk factors for weight gain. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to acquire weight, including belly fat. It is recommended to sleep for at least 7 hours with a complete relaxation of the mind.

15. Supplement to Burn Fat

  • Green coffee bean extracts – according to research, green coffee bean extract may aid in fat loss.
  • Synephrine – Synephrine is a chemical found in high concentrations in bitter oranges. There is some evidence that it can aid in fat loss.
  • Selenium- In 12-week research including 37 obese people, those who took a daily 240-mcg selenium pill in addition to a calorie-restricted diet lost more weight than those who merely consumed fewer calories. It has also been found that daily selenium supplement users burned more fat and had lower levels of leptin, a fat-regulating hormone. Selenium’s Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 55 mcg per day.
  • Omega-3 Fish oil- It has been studied that Omega-3s from fish oil may help individuals lose weight by lowering their appetite. In another minor trial, healthy people not on a weight-loss regimen were given fish oil or a mimic daily. The fish oil group felt 20% less full after a typical meal and 28% hungry. Fish oil has also been associated with taking 6 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks increased the metabolism by 3.8%.
  • 5-HTP – 5-HTP is a precursor to the hormone serotonin and is an amino acid. It may aid in fat loss by reducing hunger and carbohydrate cravings. However, it may interfere with antidepressant medicines, so it is better to get advice from a physician before self-medicating yourself.
  • Iodine- A supplement containing iodine may increase thyroid hormones and improve immune system function due to its antibacterial properties. With a well-functioning thyroid, increased iodine consumption results in weight reduction for many individuals. (1) (2) (3)
  • Protein powder – additionally, protein can help you lose weight by boosting the levels of fullness hormones such as GLP-1, CCK, and PYY and decreasing the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. If you’re having trouble getting enough protein in your diet, try taking 1–2 scoops (25–50 grams) of protein powder daily.

Always consult your primary care physician before beginning to use any dietary supplements.

16. Drink water before meals

According to one study, drinking water before meals will help you consume fewer calories and may be beneficial for weight loss. In general, drink half an ounce to an ounce of water per pound of body weight every day. For example, for a 150-pound person, that’s 75-150 ounces of water daily. Or 2-4 liters a day.

17. Get help from the right people

Weight reduction, particularly long-term, sustained weight loss, can be difficult and isolated. Collaboration with a licensed dietitian and other healthcare specialists may assist you in more readily achieving your health and wellbeing goals. Additionally, they can counsel you on safe, evidence-based strategies for promoting physical and mental health. Your dietitian can help you set realistic weight loss goals.

 And repeat – don’t give up

It is just like riding a bike; you may stumble, you may fall – pick yourself up and reset. The key to losing body fat is cultivating a sustainable and continuous lifestyle to yield results in the long run. Have a vision of success and achievement in mind so you can Prime With Time!

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Aimen

Being a Doctor by profession, Aimen is passionate about helping people get better health in their lives. Aimen enjoys her research on Prime With Time subjects and strives to create better awareness of the problems and changes related to women's health.
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