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Adding yoghurt to meals could reduce visceral fat, experts say – backed by study

Visceral fat is stored deep in the belly and acts to insulate and protect the organs. While a certain amount is necessary for this reason, too much visceral fat can be dangerous. It has been linked to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers.

Therefore, keeping belly fat to a minimum could be vital to your health.

It is widely acknowledged that this can be achieved through diet and exercise.

But fitness experts at Breaking Muscle, specifically recommended eating Greek yoghurt to aid fat loss.

“While you may be clued up on the necessary exercises to meeting your fitness goals, it’s not always so simple,” they said.

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“Your diet is crucial when it comes to working out, as it plays an important role in achieving optimum results.

“Proteins and carbohydrates are vital nutrients, whether your aim is to lose weight or build muscle.”

The benefits of Greek yoghurt

They explained: “Due to being high in protein, Greek yoghurt is essential for your diet. With low fat, calories, and even sugar, it helps to promote weight loss while simultaneously building muscle.

“As well as this, it contains probiotics to improve your immune and digestive health to contribute to a healthy gut biome.

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“Add a handful of almonds to the yoghurt for an even more effective snack, as one ounce has six grams of protein.”

What does the research say?

This claim was backed by a study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2016.

As part of the research, a team from universities in the UK, Netherlands, US and Israel analysed 22 existing studies on the effects of yoghurt on weight loss.

The paper said: “Yoghurt consumption is associated with lower body mass index, lower body weight/weight gain, smaller waist circumference and lower body fat in epidemiological studies.

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“Randomised controlled trials suggest weight reduction effects, but do not permit determination of a cause–effect relationship.

“Well-controlled, adequately powered trials in research and community settings appear likely to identify a modest but beneficial effect of yoghurt consumption for prevention of weight gain and management of obesity.

“The ready availability of yoghurt (a nutrient-dense food) and its ease of introduction to most diets suggests that educating the public to eat yoghurt as part of a balanced and healthy diet may potentially contribute to improved public health.

“Future carefully designed randomised controlled trials could provide proof of principle and large community-based studies could determine the practical impact of yoghurt on body weight/composition.”

The study concluded: “There is evidence to suggest that yoghurt consumption is associated with lower body mass index, lower body weight/weight gain, smaller waist circumference and lower body fat in a mix of normal-weight, overweight and obese people and/or the general population.”

It is not possible to know exactly how much visceral fat you have without imaging tests.

However, you can get a rough estimate by measuring your waist using the belly button as a marker.

For women 35 inches or more can signal visceral fat and for men it’s 40 inches or more.

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