3 Stubborn Types of Abdominal Fat and How to Burn Them

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

abdominal fatWhen we lose fat, it’s not just one layer of abdominal fat that we have to work on….

It’s three!

This is one reason why fat loss around the abdomen is tough.

And if you get liposuction, the doctor can only work on one layer, the subcutaneous fat.

The 3 Types of Abdominal Fat

  1. Visceral fat: Fat deposits on the omentum (a large membrane that protects and supports the organs) within the body. This visceral fat makes up the majority of a person’s abdominal fat. 3-layers-abdominal-fatWhen we refer to “belly fat” or “pot belly”, this is mostly what we refer to.

    This is also the type of fat that, in excess, leads to cardiovascular disease risk and other chronic health risk. Another term for this is central obesity, or android fat. This is that bad fat that is modifiable through diet and exercise.

  2. Intramuscular fat: Within the abdominal muscles. This is not as common in the abdominal area, but excess is still linked to higher Diabetes risk.
  3. Subcutaneous fat: Right below the skin usually found in greater amounts around the hips, thighs, and buttocks.

    This is the second most dangerous fat. However, those with higher proportions of subcutaneous fat than visceral fat are still at much lower risk for chronic health problems.

Fat Storage Depends on Hormones

The amount of fat you have depends on exercise and diet. But, where that fat is stored depends on hormone levels.

  • Men with normal levels of testosterone store more fat around the abdomen.
  • Women with normal pre-menopausal levels of estrogen store less fat around the abdomen (more around the buttocks and thighs).

Those with hormone imbalances caused by thyroid disorders and other condidtions are prone to store fat more readily than others.

People who suspect that this might be the case should seek out treatments with their physicians to correct imbalanced hormone levels.

Sorry, No Easy Fix

For those with normal hormone functioning, the same old story is still true: you must exercise and eat right to avoid excess abdominal fat.

There is not a single food that can help reduce belly fat and you can not spot-treat this fat through exercise  or strange looking gadget.

If anything has been proven to help it is green tea, but those studies show an excess of 16 or 20 cups must be consumed each day.

Stick to your diet and exercise routine, and it will pay off in the long run.

Do you have any tips to get rid of abdominal fat?

7 Comments

  1. Serena

    Does anyone know of an affordable, no-sugar, low-sweetener brand of ready-made iced tea? Arizona and the other major brands are sugar-packed. Depending on what a cup of tea looks like, two large bottles of iced green tea a day ought to do it, and fulfill the water requirement too.

    Reply
  2. Marie H.

    I am a small female with a normal looking frame…but I gain weight like a guy. Any extra fat is deposited right on the belly and I either look 6 mos pregnant or like a have a beer habit.
    Giving up sugar is an absolute must for me to lose weight…I can run 35 miles a week, but if I eat sugar, it is VERY hard to lose.

    Reply
  3. ismail khalil

    IN ORDER TO BURN FAT YOU MUST BULID LEAN MUSCLE, IN ORDER TO BUILD LEAN MUSCLE YOU MUST CONSUME PROTEIN AND WORKOUT, IN ORDER TO WORKOUT YOU MUST CONSUME COMPLEX CARBS TO HAVE ENERGY TO WORKOUT. A GOOD DIET IS A MUST,CRASH DIETS DONT WORK AND ARE DAGEROUS!!!

    Reply
  4. Pater Rolf Hermann Lingen

    Cut the sugar.
    Instead of sweets, eat veggies, fruits, nuts. It takes some time, probably several months, to get rid of your sweet tooth.
    Sugar gives you empty calories, is burned fast, can be eaten virtually without limits (as you do not feel full). You put on weight both because of the lack of nutrients and the incredible mass of calories.
    Good carbs, proteins and fats, however, have the opposite effect.
    Okay, it sounds hard to cut the sugar, but I do not see an alternative. Besides, when your sweet tooth is gone, you can discover the sweet taste of veggies, fruits and nuts. It is far better than over-sugared sweets.

    Reply
  5. Spectra

    I have very little fat on my belly. I credit that largely to exercise–visceral fat is very responsive to exercise, so the more active you become, the more visceral fat you’ll lose. So keep up the workouts and cut out the junk and you should be okay.

    Reply
  6. Jim

    Too right right about men’s fat gain going straight around the abdominal area. I can vouch for that. Despite many books claiming you can target belly fat – I think the jury is out on that one. Have you seen many men with a washboard abs, but still carrying fat on their chest or face? No? didn’t think so.

    Reply
  7. Johnny

    Train with intensity and give intermittent fasting a try. It’s as simple as eat good whole food and do resistance training… preferably with dumbbells and barbells. There is no magic method or pill as the article states. Just plain, good ole’ fashioned work.

    Reply