— L. E., New JerseyFat that accumulates around the vital organs and around the mid- section is known as visceral fat. It's the most harmful type of fat because it produces inflammation, which affects the rest of the body and leads to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To reduce weight in this area, it's important to go on a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, and to reduce portion sizes and therefore caloric intake.
To lose one to two pounds per week, you'll need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day. To hasten the movement of visceral body fat, it's also important to exercise — aerobically and with weights — five or more times per week for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Make sure your diet is high in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains and that your fat intake is mostly unsaturated, the kind found in olive and canola oils.
The good news: Most people tend to lose fat in the belly area first, then from other areas. Abdominal exercises will help tone your muscles but won't help you preferentially lose fat from the belly area.