How to get rid of visceral fat: Limit a type of drink which increases appetite & belly fat

Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning

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Visceral fat gathers near vital organs in the body, such as the liver and intestines. Its location means it forms one part of metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions, including diabetes which raise one’s risk of heart disease. For a significant reduction in belly fat, a person needs to be extra vigilant when consuming a certain beverage.  

Alcohol is metabolised differently than other foods and drinks.

Normally, the body gets its energy from the calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system.

However, this digestive process changes when alcohol is there.

When a person drinks alcohol, it gets immediate attention as it recognises alcohol as a toxin and needs no digestion.

The liver then burns the alcohol rather than the fat and this increases fat around the belly.

One study, published in the National Library of Health, delved into alcohol consumption and its effect on body fat and obesity.

“Recent prospective studies show that light-to-moderate alcohol intake is not associated with adiposity gain while heavy drinking is more consistently related to weight gain,” began the study.

It continued: “Given that both excessive alcohol intake and obesity are of public health concern, a better understanding of the association between alcohol consumption and excess body weight is warranted.”

The study concluded that alcohol consumption has probably contributed to the excess energy intake associated with weight gain in some individuals over the past years.

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Alcohol is an energy dense food, which is otherwise quite poor in its nutrient content.

That is why the calories from alcohol are often referred to as empty calories.

Data shows that an average wine drinker gets 2,000 additional calories from alcohol every month.

This can add up to 44,200 additional calories per year, which is equivalent to eating 221 doughnuts with the added calories and sugar going straight to one’s belly.

Another important reason why alcohol leads to weight gain is its ability to increase appetite.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool studied this effect of alcohol.

Volunteers were given three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner with varying strengths of an alcoholic beverage to drink too.

The researchers found that those who consumed drinks of higher alcohol strength ate significantly more than the others.

Not only that, but they also chose to eat more fatty and salty foods further perpetuating visceral and belly fat.

If you want to try cutting down on the amount you are drink, then here are five practical tips from The British Dietetic Association:

  • Replace high calorie mixer for a lower calorie one e.g., low calorie tonic or diet cola and alternate drinks with water/diet/low calorie drinks
  • Don’t top up the glass before it’s finished so the volume consumed can be monitored more accurately
  • Let your friends and family know you are trying to cut down so they can support you
  • Avoid salty snacks such as crisps and salted nuts because these make you thirstier (as well as being high in fat and salt)
  • Think about the strength of your drink – choose beers or lagers that contain less alcohol
  • Choose half pint, small can, small glass, single measure.

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