Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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The biggest distinction between subcutaneous and visceral fat is that the latter is invisible to the eye. This means it cannot be prodded, nor can it be surgically removed. Diet and exercise are the cornerstone of all types of fat burn. But one drink may help reduce visceral fat by turbocharging fat metabolism and blocking the formation of new fatty cells.
Rooibos tea, known for its distinct woody flavour, is traditionally made by fermenting leaves of the flowering shrub Aspalathus linearis.
Research suggests that aspalathin – an active ingredient in tea leaves – helps reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage.
Doctor Tim Bond, from the Tea Advisory Panel explained: “There’s no replacement for a healthy diet and plenty of movement when it comes to losing weight, but rooibos could provide some extra support.
“Research has found it contains a compound called aspalathin, which in laboratory studies, was shown to reduce fat, boost fat metabolism and block fat cell formation.
READ MORE: How to get rid of visceral fat: The simple, low-intensity exercise that burns belly fat
“As rooibos is naturally sweet, little to no sugar or sweetener is needed, allowing for a delicious calorie-free drink, which will curb a sweet tooth.”
The plant is also a rich source of antioxidants, which help regulate glutathione metabolism in the body.
Glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, has been shown to protect against inflammatory, toxins and free radicals and pathogens.
Doctor Hanél Sadi-Van Gijsen, of the Division of Medical Physiology at Stellenbosch University, explained the inflammation and oxidative stress are both hallmarks of dysfunctional fat.
They are also responsible for many of the diseases associated with obesity.
In one test-tube study, findings suggested the tea increased fat metabolism and helped block the formation of new fat cells.
The researchers noted: “Our data show that hot water-soluble solids from fermented rooibos inhibit adipogenesis and affect adipocyte metabolism, suggesting its potential in preventing obesity.
“Adipogenesis is the process by which fat-laden cells develop and accumulate as adipose tissue in various sites throughout the body. These cells develop as both subcutaneous fats and as fat deposits.
It’s been suggested that drinking just one or two cups of rooibos per day could help prevent the formation of dangerous abdominal fat.
Further studies in humans are needed, however, to investigate the herbal effects of rooibos on weight loss.
Further researchers conducted in 2014 suggested rooibos tea may have the potential to accelerate fat burn by increasing levels of leptin.
Leptin is the hormone that sends signals to the brain to help regulate food intake and help it determine when the body has consumed enough food.
How to lose visceral fat
Diet plays a pivotal role in visceral fat loss, so complex carbohydrates and lean protein should replace white bread and refined-grain pasta.
But alongside a good diet, one of the most effective measures for reducing visceral fat is exercising regularly.
Harvard Health explains: “The starting point for bringing weight under control in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity – at least 30 minutes per day to control and lose belly fat.
“Strength training may also help fight abdominal fat.”
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