Increase Soluble Fiber to Reduce Belly Fat

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Visceral Fat, also called abdominal fat or belly fat, is dangers to overall health because the fat surrounds vital organs in the abdomen and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Diet and exercise is critical to reducing visceral fat, especially the intake of fiber finds a new study from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Just Ten Grams of Soluble Fiber Each Day Can Reduce Abdominal Fat

Fiber is commonly classified into two categories: those that do not dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber). It is the second form, found in certain vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, that has been found to decrease the rate of visceral fat accumulation.

A research team led by Kristen Hairston MD, an assistant professor of internal medicine, initiated the study with just over 1,000 people who were given a physical exam, an extensive questionnaire on lifestyle issues, and a CT scan to measure both subcutaneous (under the skin) and visceral fat stores. The process was repeated five years later.

Read: Soluble Fiber Boosts Immune Function

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The study found that for every 10 gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent. In addition, increased moderate physical activity at least two to four times each week for 30 minutes resulted in a 7.4 percent decrease in the rate of visceral fat accumulation.

“We know that a higher rate of visceral fat is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes and fatty liver disease,” said Dr. Hairston. “Our study found that making a few simple changes can have a big health impact.”

Read: Soluble Fiber May Help Irritable Bowel Symptoms

Soluble fiber is found primarily in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, and psyllium. Ten grams can be achieved, for example, by eating two small apples, one cup of green peas and one-half cup of pinto beans.

The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recommends that adults consume at least 25 grams to 30 grams of total fiber each day. In addition to weight management, a high-fiber diet can lower blood cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar, and normalize bowel movements. It may also help to prevent colorectal cancer, although studies on this have been mixed.

The team’s next study will zero in on the fiber-obesity relationship, particularly how soluble fiber works on visceral fat stores, but does not appear to affect subcutaneous fat. The team will also look at the use of psyllium fiber supplements and if they produce similar results as when eating real food.

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