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Visceral fat may be Public Health Enemy No. 1. This type of fat sits under the abdominal muscle, near vital organs like the liver, intestines and pancreas. It is metabolically active—some experts consider it an organ—and dangerous, raising your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other serious health conditions. If you need to burn visceral fat, diet and exercise are key. But there are some lesser-known tricks, supported by science, that can help you in that battle of the bulge. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs COVID is Hurting You—Even After a Negative Test.
More types of fat you should know: White fat (which is dangerous) and brown fat (which actually helps your metabolism burn bad fat). According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, people who kept their homes between 60 and 61 degrees for 10 days saw significant increases in healthy brown fat, which protects the body from cold.
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Go to Bed at This Time
In a multinational study published last June by JAMA Network Open, 137,000 people were asked about their sleep schedules. Having a bedtime after 10 pm was associated with a 20% greater risk of obesity or having a large waistline. The risk was almost double that (35% to 38%) for people who went to bed between 2 and 6 am. Long daytime naps were also associated with more belly fat, especially among women. Researchers speculate that late bedtimes might increase the production of stress hormones which tell the body to hang on to belly fat.
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Do This 5-Minute Exercise
According to a small study published in The Korean Journal of Sports Medicine, overweight people who did stair-climbing intervals for five minutes, without stopping, twice a day lost an average of 7.3 pounds of body weight and 5.5 pounds of body fat in three weeks. For even better results, incorporate some hand weights: A 2021 review of studies found that resistance training effectively reduces visceral fat in healthy adults. (You can also go long: Other studies have found that increasing your exercise to 60 minutes a day can burn 30% of your visceral fat over three months.)
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Add a Protein Shake to Your Routine
Several studies have found that protein helps burn belly fat and keep it off. In research published last summer in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists found that a test group who took a protein supplement as part of a mildly calorie-restricted diet lost more visceral fat than a group that took a placebo.
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Skip Diet Soda
There’s nothing “diet” about soda, whether it’s sugar-sweetened or not, particularly when it comes to belly fat. In a study at the University of Texas, researchers followed nearly 500 adults for over a decade. They found that those who drank diet soda developed a 70 percent larger waist circumference, on average, than those who didn’t drink any soda. One possible explanation: Super-sweet artificial sweeteners make the body expect calories. When they don’t arrive, the body turns up hunger signals in response. And to live your healthiest life, don’t miss this life-saving advice I’m a Doctor and Here’s the #1 Sign You Have Cancer.
They can be fatal.
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