Why should you be concerned with visceral fat? Because it controls the size of your waistline. This deep abdominal fat collects around your internal organs and can indicate if you are carrying excess weight.
The nutrients you put in your body influence how much visceral fat you carry on your frame. But what you may not realize is that drinks also have a large influence over this. It’s imperative to be informed about what drinks are beneficial and detrimental to your visceral fat levels.
How to Measure Your Visceral Fat and Why It Matters
There are a few simple ways to determine whether you have too much visceral fat:
- If you have a waist size over 40 inches for women or over 35 inches for men—that’s about an inch above your hip bones
- If your waist-to-height ratio is over 0.9
- If you have an apple-shaped body with excess belly fat
When you have too much visceral fat, your body releases chemicals into your blood that cause inflammation. These chemicals also reduce insulin function. This can prevent you from processing glucose efficiently. It can also lead to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic health conditions.
Top 3 Drinks to Avoid If You Want to Lose Visceral Fat
An ultra-processed diet boosts the amount of visceral fat you store in your abdominal cavity. So consider all the highly processed drinks that you consume on a daily basis. Though they may seem harmless, these drinks may be getting in the way of your weight loss goals.
One of the most productive things you can do to decrease your body’s visceral fat burden is to change the beverages you drink. Let’s examine the three types of refreshments you should avoid for the sake of visceral fat—and two healthy alternatives that can help keep your visceral fat levels lower.
Soft drinks are bad news for your health, body weight, and visceral fat levels. This is exemplified in a 6-year study of a group of 1,000 adults who consumed at least one sugary drink a day. By the end of the study, the subjects gained around 1.8 pounds of visceral fat. This alarming increase should ward you from ordering a second cola next time you go out.
Just because they seem like a healthy, 0-calorie alternative to soda doesn’t mean diet drinks are good for you. Although not proven, carbonated beverages with artificial sweeteners may provoke weight gain. They may also fuel the accumulation of visceral fat.
A 9-year study at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that subjects who drank more than one diet soft per day experienced a 4-fold greater increase in waist size than those who didn’t. And as we’ve learned, waist size is a marker of visceral fat.
It’s unclear why drinking diet soft drinks can increase visceral fat. According to some, artificial sweeteners alter the gut microbiome, which causes weight gain. Others assume that artificial beverages don’t supply the body with energy. Thus they don’t satisfy hunger, often leading to overeating.
Fruit juice may sound like a healthy beverage to sip, but it’s high in natural fructose. Your body metabolizes fructose differently than glucose, the type of sugar that’s used for energy. Fructose gets metabolized in the liver, which increases the risk of accumulating visceral fat. This is why beverages with high fructose corn syrup, a synthetic form of fructose, are harmful.
It’s best to skip the fruit juice and stick to eating whole fruit. Whole fruit retains its fiber—a nutrient that’s mostly lost when fruit is converted to its liquid form. The added fiber of whole fruits reduces the negative impact on your waistline and health.
Best Drinks for Decreasing Visceral Fat
Soft drinks and other high-sugar beverages are off the menu if you have too much visceral fat. But are there non-water beverages you can drink to reduce it? Here are some tasty options.
Green tea is rich in catechin antioxidants, the most important of which is epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC). Studies show that green tea in higher amounts helps reduce visceral fat. Studies also show that ECGC may help with fat loss by subtly boosting the rate at which your body burns fat.
To get all the benefits of green tea, you’d likely have to drink 3-5 cups daily. But even if you don’t drink this much, switching from soft drinks to green tea is certainly better for your health. You can reap the most benefits by drinking home-brewed, unsweetened green tea.
Could your morning cup of coffee help tame visceral fat? A randomized controlled trial of Japanese adults with excess visceral fat may confirm this. The study found that those who drank coffee lost more weight and reduced their waist size more than those in the placebo group.
You might think that caffeine is responsible for the drop in visceral fat. But researchers believe that the antioxidants in coffee, particularly chlorogenic acid, may explain the drop in visceral fat.
The best way to get the most health benefits out of your coffee is to drink it black with no added sugar. But if you can’t avoid cream, try adding it in small amounts without added sugar.
Lower Your Visceral Fat, Improve Your Life
Eliminating the three ultra sweet beverages we mentioned and replacing them with the latter is a small step in reducing visceral fat. But it’s important to take a closer look at the rest of your lifestyle. Make sure you’re eating whole, unrefined foods and staying physically active. This will help improve your overall health and better your weight loss efforts.