Visceral fat is more sensitive to the effects of cortisol, a hormone created when we’re under stress. When cortisol levels rise, visceral fat cells react by trapping fat. Lowering stress (through exercise, meditation, or lifestyle changes) will minimize cortisol levels that contribute to visceral fat deposits in the abdomen.
Your metabolism is not as efficient when you’re under stress. That’s why reducing stress and getting enough sleep are so important.
Studies by researchers at the University of San Francisco reveal that when stress levels are high, even thin people’s abdominal fat increases. Worse, increased cortisol levels can make us crave the very fatty, sugary foods we seek to avoid. High levels of fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and table sugar in the diet contribute to the development of more visceral fat cells as well as their enlargement. And the average American consumes almost 145 pounds of these types of sugar per year.