The Truth About Fat
As we age, men tend to accumulate fat around the waist while women are more prone to accumulate fat in their thighs and buttocks. But, what kind of fat is it that plagues our appearance as well as our overall health? To answer that question, we need to look at the types of fat (brown fat and white fat) as well as the areas of the body where each type of fat tends to reside (subcutaneous and visceral).
So where does fat come from and what is its purpose? Humans have adipose tissue all over their body that is made of adipocytes or fat cells. From that dimply stuff on the thighs to the beer belly hanging over the beltline, these fat cells have two purposes. First, fat safely stores excess calories (energy) in a way that the body can utilize "fat stores" when you are hungry. Secondly, fat releases important hormones that help to control your body's metabolism.
Brown fat is one of the two types of adipose tissue found in both men and women. Recent research has shown that brown fat is not related to white fat but to skeletal muscle. Percentage-wise, we have more brown fat as a newborn than as an adult. This is likely due to the fact that brown fat takes the calories stored in other fat cells and burns it. This alternative means of heat production aids infants by keeping them warm. As we age, muscle tissue increases and the percentage of brown fat in our body decreases. Since thinner people have more brown fat, scientist are already looking for ways to increase the amount of brown fat in a overweight adults.
About 80 percent of all body fat is subcutaneous lying just beneath the skin. Visceral fat on the other hand is deeper fat deposits that surround our internal organs. Unlike the dreaded bumpy thigh and butt fat which is subcutaneous, deep belly fat is visceral fat and is considered to be much more of a health risk. Although thin people can have too much belly fat, the real danger occurs in obese men and women. Once the body's regular fat storage areas are full, fat is stored in unusual places like around the heart.
In conclusion, what we do know about fat is promising. We know that being active helps to reduce the amount of visceral fat that is created and stored by the body. We have recently learned that brown fat behaves more like muscle than ordinary fat, which is promising for the development of medications to combat the rising rate obesity in our country. We also know that the bumpy subcutaneous butt and thigh fat is less of a health concern than deeper belly fat. And most importantly... we know that people who include 30 minutes of moderate activity to their daily weight loss plan have a better chance of eliminating dangerous belly fat.
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