Visceral, active, and abdominal fat is all stored around the liver, pancreas, and the intestines. Unlike subcutaneous fat (regular fat found under our skin), it plays a role in hormone balance and comes with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid problems. If you suspect you have too much visceral fat, ask your doctor for an appointment.

Check out Bright Side’s compilation of foods that increase the likelihood of storing abdominal fat when consumed in an unbalanced way and the bonus section that showcases an easy technique to find out if you suffer from abdominal fat.

1. Fructose

Sodas and most sweet treats we get at the supermarket are packed with refined sugars and/or fructose. In most commercial jams, for example, they’re made to preserve their little fruit content: modern jams can consist of up to 60% sweeteners. The World Health Organization recommends eating no more than 50 grams of sugar a day, which is the equivalent of less than a bottle of cola, depending on the recipe.

2. Unbalanced fat-packed foods

People have asked themselves how a hamburger and fries could be so bad for you if it contains mainly meat and bread. A hot dog is just a sausage with bread too, right? But according to this nutritionist, it’s mainly a balance problem. The typical burger and fries, for example, are high in fat content. Normally, vegetables help you digest thanks to their vitamins and antioxidants. Clearly, fast food burgers and fries or a hot dog hardly contain enough vegetables to balance the fat content out.

3. Trans fats

Trans fats have been pointed out as one of the main culprits for active fat creation. Cookies and crackers often contain high doses of high-fructose corn syrup, plus trans fats. Other common foods such as false maple syrup, frozen pizza, refrigerated dough products, coffee creamer, or margarine are packed with trans fats too.

4. Refined carbohydrates

White rice is one of the most common sources of refined carbohydrates along with pasta and white bread. Refined carbohydrates were linked to an increase in visceral fat in this study. Switching to wholemeal rice, pasta, or bread can help you process carbohydrates better because they contain more fiber.

5. Refined sugars

Sugar-coated cornflakes are barely the tip of the iceberg. Chocolate granola and even plain granola with dried fruit — often thought of as healthy — are extremely high in refined sugars and fats and contain little to no fiber. High sugar intake has been associated with visceral fat. Since breakfast cereals, for example, belong to the refined carbohydrates group as well, expect the same results as white rice if consumed daily in high quantities. A good alternative is sugar-free oatmeal which has more fiber and little to no added sugar.

Bonus: Are you pear-shaped or apple-shaped?

Although diet has a great influence on our bodies, where fat is stored actually depends on genetics as well. You should take several factors into account to avoid storing visceral fat. A high-calorie diet always leads to higher fat storage. If you’re not burning enough of these, you might store fat under your skin. This fat can be pinched and often leads to having what some people call a “pear-shaped body.”

On the other hand, some visceral fat can be seen and measured but not pinched since it lies around the organs, next to the abdomen. This leads to an apple-shaped body. Interestingly enough, men are more likely than premenopausal women to accumulate visceral fat.

Do you know any specific ingredients in foods that increase the likelihood of generating visceral fat without being aware of it? Let us know in the comments and offer some alternatives to replace them!