Not all body fat is the same – what sort do you have?

the dangers of abdominal fat



Did you know that not all fat is the same? In fact we have several different types of fat in our body,  and each type has its own characteristics and functions. The type and location of bodily fat greatly affects our health.





There are four main types.

The bulk of our fat deposits (no pun intended) is white fat. This type of fat acts as an energy store, ready to provide extra fuel to our body during times of extra activity, or when food is scarce. White fat produces hormones which are secreted into the blood stream to make our liver and muscles more sensitive to insulin. This then causes them to take up the extra fuel which has been released by the fat.

Brown fat which makes up about five per cent of our body mass is like muscle in that it burns calories. Lean individuals tend to have a higher amount of brown fat.

Subcutaneous fat, as the name suggests is found under the skin especially around the thighs,  buttocks and belly. Its function is to act as padding and to help us regulate our temperatures, keeping us warm.

Visceral fat is the ‘deep’ fat which is found around our inner organs such as the liver and kidneys. This is the fat we accumulate when we develop ‘fat around the middle’ and unfortunately it is this type of fat which can be dangerous to our health. Visceral fat is metabolically active; that is to say it doesn’t just sit there but plays an active role.

Visceral fat functions just like an endocrine organ in that it releases hormones that cause inflammation. This can lead to an increased risk of pain, insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease, amongst other things.

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