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Very Low Carbohydrate Diet May Help Reduce Belly Fat

Visceral adipose tissue (belly fat) is fat tissue located deep in the abdomen and around internal organs. Previous research has linked having too much visceral adipose tissue to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. A new study suggests that a very low carbohydrate diet may help mature adults lose visceral adipose tissue.

Thirty-four obese adults with an average age of 67.5 participated in the study. They followed a very low carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet for 8 weeks. The researchers used dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to measure body composition and MRI to measure fat distribution at baseline and at the end of the study period. They also measured insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels.

Participants in the very low carbohydrate diet group lost an average of 9.7% of total fat, compared to 2.0% in the low-fat diet group. The very low carbohydrate diet group also lost three times more visceral adipose tissue than the low-fat diet group. In addition, the very low carbohydrate group saw greater improvements in insulin sensitivity and greater decreases in fasting insulin and triglycerides.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It was published online ahead of print on August 12, 2020 in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism.

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