The boost to burn visceral fat can counteract the effects of a high-fat diet and increase satiety by “31%.”
In recent years, pulses have become a staple food for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Since each variety of legumes has its own nutritional profile, their use can be targeted to specific diseases. In regards to treating visceral fat, research suggests that chickpeas may inhibit the accumulation of abdominal fat in animals fed a high-fat diet.
The results came from an early animal study to determine the effects of chickpeas on visceral adiposity, insulin and lipid profile.
The rats were fed a normal fat diet, a high fat diet, or a high fat diet with chickpeas for eight weeks.
The results showed that abdominal fat was lower in the high-fat and chickpea diet group compared to the high-fat diet group.
This suggests that adding chickpeas to a high-fat diet may counteract fat accumulation to some extent.
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The researchers said the study provides a rational basis for consuming chickpeas as a functional food ingredient.
Moreover, the results showed that chickpeas improved insulin resistance and blood lipid profile.
These results are consistent with a more recent study by St. Michael’s Hospital which found that just 3/4 cup of legumes consumed daily can lead to moderate weight loss.
The meta-analysis looked at 21 different clinical trials involving 940 adult men and women who lost an average of 0.35 kg in six weeks with the addition of one serving of legumes to their diet.
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Moreover, no other drastic efforts have been made to reduce consumption of other foods.
The researchers who conducted the study noted that legumes “increase satiety by 31 percent,” suggesting that consumers would be less likely to eat other foods.
Science Daily explains that pulses have a low glycemic index, which means they are slowly broken down by the body.
What is visceral fat?
Cristina Mamadada, staff nutritionist at personalized vitamins company www.Vitl.com, said: “Visceral fat is, specifically, fat deposits that are stored in the abdomen and as such are found near a number of vital organs. including the liver, intestines and stomach.
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“Because it is inside the abdomen, it is not as easy to see as other types of body fat, but it may be more dangerous.
“Too much visceral fat can raise your chances of serious medical problems, such as an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.”
The researchers also hypothesized that it may secrete a specific protein that contributes to insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Luckily, visceral fat is thought to burn more easily than other types of body fat, such as belly fat.
Mamadah explained: “As with most types of body fat, the best ways to reduce visceral fat [is] through regular exercise and a healthy diet.
“Exercise for 30 minutes every day (it can be something as simple as walking or working), reducing your intake of sugar and highly processed foods. […] all of which will help reduce the increase in visceral fat.”
The expert also recommends maintaining a generally healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, oily fish, legumes, and lean protein.
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