How to lose visceral fat: Liquorice oil shown to reduce the harmful belly fat

Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning

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There are two main types of fat in the body and they are largely distinguished by their impact. Subcutaneous fat – the visible fat just under your skin – is relatively harmless. Visceral fat, which lurks near vital organs, can disrupt metabolic processes and increase risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Eliminating visceral fat should therefore take precedence over subcutaneous fat.

Recent research suggests consuming liquorice flavonoid oil (LFO) can help to reduce the belly fat.

LFO is a new dietary ingredient containing liquorice flavonoids – natural substances that are linked to a host of health benefits.

The study, published in the journal Elsevier, evaluated the effects of LFO on total body fat and visceral fat together with body weight, body mass index (BMI) and safety parameters in overweight subjects.

BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height – it is the most widely used method to check if you’re a healthy weight.

In the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, moderately overweight participants (56 males, 28 females) were assigned to four groups receiving a daily dose of either zero (placebo), 300, 600, or 900 mg of LFO.

Over the course of eight weeks, caloric intake was similar in all four groups, but total body fat mass decreased significantly in the three LFO groups.

What’s more, 900 mg a day of LFO resulted in significant decreases in visceral fat area, body weight, BMI, and LDL-cholesterol.

An accumulation of LDL cholesterol, like visceral fat, can hike your risk of developing heart disease.

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The study also noted that there were no significant adverse effects from taking LFO.

General dietary tips to reduce visceral fat

It is important to heed general dietary principles to eliminate visceral fat in the long-term.

“If you want to reduce your belly fat, you’ll need to burn more calories (energy) than you consume, and eat the right kinds of food,” explains Bupa.

To do this, the health body advises increasing your protein intake.

It explains: “Protein can be a helpful way to lose weight because it makes you feel fuller than carbs and fat do.”

Good sources include chicken breast; tuna; mackerel; salmon; eggs; milk; red lentils; chickpeas; brown bread; nuts and soya.

Other important dietary tips include:

  • Make sure you eat a balanced diet
  • Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg each day, and include higher-fibre starchy foods in meals
  • Have some reduced-fat dairy or soya drinks fortified in calcium
  • Eat more beans, pulses, fish and eggs
  • Eat small amounts of unsaturated oil
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
  • Avoid adding salt or sugar to your meals.

In addition to improving your diet, exercise is key to reducing visceral fat.

Studies have shown that you can help trim visceral fat or prevent its growth with both aerobic activity and strength training.

Aerobic activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer.

“One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing,” explains the NHS.

Examples include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Riding a bike
  • Dancing
  • Doubles tennis.

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