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How Keto Reduces Harmful Belly Fat and Adipose Tissue

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  Published on November 19th, 2020
  Reading time: 3 minutes
  Last modified March 28th, 2023
Reduced belly fat on keto

Going keto helps some people achieve the desirable washboard abs, pancake stomach, and slender silhouette. The ketogenic diet is a powerful dietary pattern that shifts the metabolism and often shifts the excess weight too, particularly around the midsection. How does the ketogenic diet help reduce harmful belly fat and adipose tissue?

How does keto help you lose belly fat? Why is abdominal fat harmful to your health?

Why is Belly Fat Unhealthy?

Studies show being obese or overweight might increase your risk of a range of serious chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. Research also shows where you carry your fat might be even more important than how much fat you carry [1].

Visceral fat refers to belly fat occurring within the abdominal cavity that surrounds your liver, stomach, and intestines. Visceral fat increases the levels of inflammation in the body and can lead to health problems. If you have a higher waist circumference, it’s associated with more visceral fat [2] [3] [4].

How Does Keto Reduce Belly Fat?

Outside of diet, there are other factors that can influence weight loss and adipose tissue, such as genetics, stress, and toxicity. Research suggests that body fat distribution can predict your risk of heart disease and other issues. Carrying excess abdominal body fat is associated with a higher risk of health problems compared to overweight people who store their fat elsewhere [5].

Countless health experts believe the ketogenic diet is one of the most effective nutrition plans for reducing belly fat. Going keto lowers your carb intake and reduces insulin levels. On high-carb diets, you’re constantly spiking insulin, which inhibits fat-burning and encourages your body to hold on to your fat stores.

The lower insulin and blood sugar levels on keto make burning stored fat easier and more efficient. In some instances, those who are keto-adapted can burn up to 10 times more fat than others [6] [7] [8] [9].

One of the worst culprits of increasing belly fat is added sugar, and specifically fructose — a type of sugar that’s off-limits on a ketogenic diet. When you’re not eating many sugars and carbohydrates on keto, your body is forced to burn fat for fuel, both at rest and during exercise [10].

The ketones created when you’re in the metabolic state of ketosis also naturally reduce cravings and hunger. With fewer hunger cravings, you’ll likely consume fewer calories, which could promote weight loss and a reduction in body fat [11] [12].

Overall, research shows the ketogenic diet is effective for weight loss and losing fat and waist circumference compared to other diets [13] [14] [15]. A recent review of 12 studies highlighted an average weight loss of 22-34.3 pounds and an average waistline reduction of around 5 inches with a ketogenic diet [16].

 Have You Reduced Your Waistline on a Ketogenic Diet?

Have you tried the ketogenic diet for fat loss? What changes have you noticed since going keto? 

Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.



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Alvehus, M., Buren, J., Sjostrom, M., Goedecke, J., & Olsson, T. (2010). The human visceral fat depot has a unique inflammatory profile. Obesity, 18(5), 879-883. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2010.22


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Chakrabarti, P., Kim, J, Y., Singh, M., Shin, Y-K., Kim, J., Kumbrink, J., Wu, Y., Lee, M-J., Kirsch, K. H., Fried, S. K., & Kandror, K. V.(2013). Insulin inhibits lipolysis in adipocytes via the evolutionarily conserved mTORC1-Egr1-ATGL-Mediated pathway. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 33(18), 3659-3666. DOI: 10.1128/MCB.01584-12


Sidossis, L. S., Stuart, C. A., Shulman, G. I., Lopaschuk, G. D., & Wolfe, R. R. (1996). Glucose plus insulin regulate fat oxidation by controlling the rate of fatty acid entry into the mitochondria. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 98(10), 2244-2250. DOI: 10.1172/JCI119034


Gershuni, V. M., Yan. S. L., & Medici, V. (2018). Nutritional ketosis for weight management and reversal of metabolic syndrome. Current Nutr Rep, 7(3), 97-106. DOI: 10.1007/s13668-018-0235-0


Purdom, T., Kravitz, L., Dokladny, K., & Mermier, C. (2018). Understanding the factors that effect maximal fat oxidation. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, DOI: 10.1186/s12970-018-0207-1


DiNicolantonio, J. J., Mehta, V., Onkaramurthy, N., & O’Keefe, J. H. (2018). Fructose-induced inflammation and increased cortisol: A new mechanism for how sugar induces visceral adiposity. Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, 61(1), 3-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.pcad.2017.12.001


Gibson, A. A., Seimon, R. V., Lee, C. M. Y., Ayre, J., Franklin, J., Markovic, T. P., Caterson, I. D., & Sainsbury, A. (2015). Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity Reviews, 16(1), 64-76. DOI: 10.1111/obr.12230


Johnstone, A. M., Horgan, G. W., Murison, S. D., Bremner, D. M., & Lobley, G. E. (2008). Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87(1), 44-55. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/87.1.44


Bueno, N. B., De Melo, I. S. V., De Oliveira, S. L., & Ataide, T. R. (2013). Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(7), 1178-1187. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114513000548


Hussain, T. A., Mathew, T. C., Dashti, A. A., Asfar, S., Al-Zaid, N., Dashti, H. M. (2012). Effect of low-calorie versus low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet in type 2 diabetes. Nutrition, 28(10), 1016-1021. DOI: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.01.016


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Castellana, M., Conte, E., Cignarelli, A., Perrini, S., Giustina, A., Giovanella, L., Giorgino, F., & Trimboli, P. (2020). Efficacy and safety of very low-calorie ketogenic diet (VLCKD) in patients with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Rev Endocr Metab Disord, 21(1), 5-16. DOI: 10.1007/s11154-019-09514-y

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