Nutrition

Body Fat | Is It All Bad?


Is Body Fat Bad?


Body fat is generally considered in a negative light. From the signs of cellulite in un-photoshopped pictures to beer bellies, builders bums, muffin tops and off-season athletes, it gets a bad rep in the press that not only makes an unhealthy impression in terms of mental health and body shaming but also spawns many misconceptions about how bad body fat really is.

 

Believe it or not, body fat has a lot of functions. The two main purposes include storing calories for when you need the energy; the second is that fat releases hormones that control your metabolism. So, let’s take a slightly deeper look at the various types of fat and what you need to know about them.


body fat


White Fat

 

White fat stores energy and produces hormones that are then secreted into your bloodstream. Small fat cells produce a hormone called adiponectin, which makes the liver and muscles sensitive to the hormone insulin, in the process making you less susceptible to diabetes and heart disease. What’s the link between obese people and diabetes? When someone becomes overweight, their production of adiponectin diminishes, making them susceptible to diabetes.


Brown Fat

 

Brown fat helps to keep you warm and can help to burn calories. Lean people have more brown fat than overweight and obese people. Children have more brown fat than adults. Brown fat stores decline in adults but still help with warmth. “We’ve shown brown fat is more active in people in Boston in colder months,” Cypess says, leading to the idea of sleeping in chillier rooms to burn a few more calories.


Subcutaneous Fat

 

Subcutaneous fat is the kind underneath your skin, which your total body fat is measured by using calipers. Whereas when you have this on your legs or rear you may have been led to believe this is a bad thing, it actually isn’t something to be concerned about the same as the deeper kinds of fat, such as visceral fat


Visceral Fat

 

Visceral is also known as “deep” fat. It wraps around your organs and causes health concerns such as heart problems and diabetes due to its role in insulin resistance.


MEASURE BODY FAT


So with that knowledge, what does a build-up of fat mean in different body parts?

 

If you’ve got a flabby tummy this is both visceral and subcutaneous fats. This is an unhealthy sign, which you might take as a sign that your diet and calorie burning balance are off kilter. You don’t need to be a serious athlete for this to be something on your radar. Basically, if you are consuming more fuel than your body needs, it will show. Abdominal fat is considered a bigger health risk than when you have it on your hips or thighs. These contain stores of subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat cells in your belly, however, may suggest deeper fat that needs addressing.


 

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile oranisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-reid-8b619b122/. She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.


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