Visceral fat is stored in your abdominal cavity, neighbouring important organs such as the liver, stomach, kidneys, and intestines. High levels of the belly fat puts you at an increased risk of chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Visceral fat should therefore be in the cross-hairs if you’re looking to live a long life.
Fortunately, diet offers a potent weapon against visceral fat build-up.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrition, eating beta glucan-enriched barley delivers a blow to belly fat.
Researchers investigated whether a diet in which high beta glucan barley was substituted for rice would reduce visceral fat obesity in Japanese individuals.
Beta glucan, also known as β-glucan, is a soluble fibre readily available from oat and barley grains.
Visceral fat area significantly decreased in both groups, the researchers found.
These changes did not differ significantly between the groups. However, a subgroup analysis of participants with visceral fat showed a “significant decrease in the test group, and this decrease was significantly greater than in the placebo group”, they noted.
The researchers concluded that the intake of high β-glucan barley “led to significant and safe reductions in VFA [visceral fat area], body weight, BMI, and WC [waist circumference] in individuals with visceral fat obesity”.
“Barley high in β-glucan may contribute to preventing visceral fat obesity.”
Sources of insoluble fibre include wheat bran, brown rice, cauliflower, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, carrots and nuts.
How much fibre do you need per day? According to UK Government guidelines, adults should be getting 30g fibre a day.
And yet, nine in 10 people in the UK are not meeting this with most adults eating only 18g a day.
A diet low in fibre has been linked to tiredness, blood sugar imbalance, bloating and the worsening of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms.