Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Visceral fat is lurking deep inside your belly, surrounding some of your vital organs, such as the liver and pancreas. This pesky location makes the fatty substance a smoking gun – it can trigger serious health problems, ranging from heart disease to diabetes. Fortunately, simple dietary tweaks could be effective at burning it.
Whether you make sourdough from scratch or simply buy a white sliced loaf from the shop, bread is a staple of every kitchen.
Available in various, shapes, sizes and flavours, bread is a versatile yet cheap food that can deliver your breakfast, lunch or snacks in seconds.
However, a study, published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, makes a strong case for choosing one specific kind over others.
The research team found that wholegrain wheat bread was able to “significantly” reduce levels of visceral fat in “weeks”.
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While eating bread for lower levels of belly fat might sound too good to be true, the randomised double-blind placebo-controlled intervention study conducted on 50 Japanese subjects proved otherwise.
The researchers set out to investigate the effects of different types of bread on visceral fat parameters.
The study participants were randomly assigned either wholegrain wheat bread or refined wheat bread for 12 weeks.
The team collected blood samples and conducted computed tomography (CT) scans every six weeks to monitor the participants.
What did the study find?
After 12 weeks, the wholegrain wheat bread group saw their visceral fat levels lowered, whereas the refined bread group didn’t reap any significant benefits.
“These time-dependent changes were significantly different between the groups,” the researchers penned.
In fact, the wholegrain group showed a decrease of four centimetres in their visceral fat area.
The team concluded: “Wholegrain wheat bread diet may contribute to preventing visceral fat obesity.”
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While this is only one study that included a small sample of participants, the fibre found in wholegrain bread has been previously celebrated for its weight-loss benefits.
Soluble fibre helps to absorb water and form a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
Holland and Barrett explains that this helps you feel fuller for longer, so you end up eating less and not snacking excessively.
Furthermore, fibre isn’t only contained within the four crusts of bread, as fruits, vegetables, seeds and wholegrains are all brimming with it.
How to tell if you have visceral fat
As visceral fat is hidden deep inside your tummy, you won’t be able to spot it with the naked eye.
However, one sign which could indicate the culprit is your waist circumference.
For women, the risk of the fatty culprit is increased if the waist circumference is 80 centimetres or more and for men 94 centimetres or more, according to Healthdirect.
The good news is that you can stamp visceral out by a variety of dietary tweaks and exercises, including swapping your go-to bread for a wholegrain alternative.
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