Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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We all have a certain amount of visceral fat stored in our bellies. Hidden deep under the skin it is needed to protect and insulate organs. However, an excess of visceral fat has been linked to a number of potentially life-threatening conditions and diseases including diabetes and even cancer.
The main causes of a build up of visceral fat are eating too much fatty food and not exercising enough.
Therefore, making lifestyle changes could help you reduce belly fat.
One such lifestyle change includes adding drinking coffee to your daily routine.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, registered dietician at JustCBD – Nataly Komova RD, said: “Caffeine in coffee enhances thermogenesis, allowing your body to burn more calories.
“However, I advise you to consume coffee in moderation.
“Taking large amounts of coffee can lead to irritability, headaches, fast heartbeat, nervousness, insomnia, and muscle tremors.”
What does research say?
This claim was backed by several studies.
One study, published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2019, found that caffeine could “promote” weight, body mass index (BMI) and body fat reduction.
As part of the research it analysed results from 13 existing studies with more than 600 participants.
It found that every time someone doubled their caffeine intake their weight, BMI and body fat reduced.
“Overall, the current meta-analysis demonstrated that caffeine intake might promote weight, BMI and body fat reduction,” it concluded.
Separate research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2020 revealed that four cups of coffee a day could reduce body fat by four percent.
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Study reviewer and program director at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, Lona Sandon, commented: “Coffee, caffeine more specifically, has been on the radar for years for its potential to affect appetite, body weight and body fat.
“But the exact mechanism of how it may work to decrease body fat is highly debated.”
Sandon warned people that it took half a year for drinkers within the trial to shed a small amount of body fat.
“Modest calorie restriction is more effective than that, along with a good exercise program for changing body composition,” she said.
“Excess body fat is not going to melt away quickly with a few added cups of coffee per day.”
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, carried out four trials on the link between caffeine and weight loss.
It said: “In conclusion caffeine/coffee stimulates the metabolic rate in both control and obese individuals; however, this is accompanied by greater oxidation of fat in normal weight subjects.”
You can get an indication of whether you have too much visceral fat by measuring your waist using the belly button as a marker – for women 35 inches or more can signal visceral fat and for men it’s 40 inches.
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