Dr Zoe Williams discusses visceral fat on This Morning
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Carrying too much visceral fat can lay the groundwork for serious health problems, ranging from heart disease to diabetes. Hidden deep inside your belly and neighbouring vital organs in the body, visceral fat’s trickiness stems from its position. Fortunately, simple dietary tweaks could be effective at targeting the stubborn belly fat.
From fresh basil sprinkled on the top of a colourful salad to earthy turmeric mixed into a creamy curry, spices and seasonings are the thread that ties a bunch of ingredients into a meal.
While spices offer a kick of flavour, they could also be potent in health benefits.
According to research, published in the journal Nutrients, onion powder is one of those seasonings that offers more than a tasty cooking ingredient.
In fact, the research team found that the yellow powder was able to reduce visceral fat levels in some participants within “weeks”.
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The reason why this common ingredient is so potent comes down to quercetin.
Quercetin is a plant pigment, found in the likes of onion, packed with impressive biological activities.
With this in mind, the researchers decided to investigate the possible anti-obesity effects of quercetin in onion powder.
Using a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled parallel-group approach, they analysed the effects of daily intake of quercetin-rich powder or a placebo on visceral fat for 12 weeks.
The nature of the study meant that neither the participants nor the researchers knew who was receiving which treatment.
Looking at seventy healthy Japanese subjects, the researchers instructed the participants to ingest nine grams of onion powder daily throughout the study period.
From medical interviews to biological tests, the researchers conducted various tests to examine the powder’s effects.
The participants’ visceral fat levels were measured using computed tomography (CT) scanning at the beginning and end of the study.
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After 12 weeks of the onion protocol, there were no significant differences in the visceral fat area observed between the two groups.
However, the study subjects in which “good” cholesterol was lower, also saw their visceral fat area significantly reduced by the quercetin-rich powder.
The findings are interesting because visceral fat is “directly linked” to lower levels of “good” cholesterol, according to the Harvard Medical School.
The researchers added: “The results suggest that quercetin-rich onion may be beneficial for preventing obesity and improving liver function.”
However, the caveat of the research is that it only looked at a small sample of participants and didn’t find visceral fat changes in everyone who consumed the yellow powder.
What’s more, quercetin doesn’t only offer promising benefits when it comes to visceral fat.
The plant pigment has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that might help reduce swelling, kill cancer cells, control blood sugar, and help prevent heart disease.
Some studies even suggest that quercetin could inhibit the proliferation of a wide range of cancers such as prostate, cervical, lung, breast, and colon.
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