Fat- What Fat Types Are There In The Human Body?
Generally speaking, the human body stores fat in 2 main ways: As Visceral fat and Subcutaneous fat. Men and women both accumulate these types of fats, but the quantities and distribution can sometimes differ. Men are a little more likely to start accumulating visceral fat first (in many cases), while women are often more susceptible to gaining subcutaneous fat. Again, this can vary a lot depending on your own genetics.
Subcutaneous Fat–What Is It?
Subcutaneous fat is the fat that accumulates right under the skin. For example, if you tighten up your abdominal muscles, and then “pinch” some fat from the top of your muscles, that is subcutaneous fat. This fat can accumulate all over your body, including the face, arms, legs, stomach, hips, etc.
This is the type of fat that often gives the “fat rolls” or “pudgy” type look. You can pinch it, pull on it, and see it almost instantly on a person’s body. It gives that “soft” look, because it covers up muscle definition. This is the fat that makes you instantly be recognized as an overweight person, giving the names such as “muffin top, turkey neck, flabby arms, cellulite, etc.”
Any fat in excess is dangerous to your health, and subcutaneous fat is certainly something to be avoided. However, most research shows that subcutaneous fat is far less dangerous than its next of kin: Visceral fat.
Visceral Fat–What Is Visceral Fat?
Visceral fat is just like the name implies–fat found in your visceral (organ) section. This fat accumulates around your organs and intestines in your tummy area deep within your body. This fat is considered VERY DANGEROUS and potentially DEADLY fat.
This is the fat that is more hidden, more secret. Some apparently skinny people are secretly fat (on the inside). This is the exact fat that I suddenly realized my body had been secretly accumulating in stock piles for the last decade. I was the skinniest fat person I know!
Visceral fat is what is responsible for the “beer belly” look (even though it can be caused by any weight gain, not just from alcohol). A quick check to see if you have visceral fat is to see how far you can extend your stomach out. If you can extend your stomach a bit, there is a good chance that you have visceral fat.
The sneaky thing about this type of fat is that you can LOOK healthy on the outside. In fact, you could be ripped to shreds on the exterior of your body, but you can still be carrying a good supply of visceral fat. The reason is that if you have low subcutaneous fat, your muscles will show through. But visceral fat is BEHIND your abdominal muscles. So it is really easy to look healthy, yet be very unhealthy carrying this extra fat around.
Many of the people you see in these bodybuilding magazines or “exercise/supplement” brochures have a lot of visceral fat, and also a lot of muscle. What they sometimes do is relax their stomach and pooch it out. Then they shine the lighting straight towards their body. This hides most all definition, and makes them look terribly out of shape. Then, they will change the lighting, flex and suck in the gut, add some self-tanner and oil, and viola–a fit person.
I once watched a photographer talking about how many times when he takes those pictures they are all taken in the same day–just different lighting and some tanner is applied to show some definition. Again, this is because they mostly had visceral fat, and very little subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is easy to hide in many cases.
What Makes Visceral Fat So Dangerous? What’s the Big Deal?
The problem with visceral fat is this: Visceral Fat is metabolically active fat. More specifically, many scientific studies have found that this fat actually secretes inflammatory molecules into your body. These increased inflammatory molecules soon start wreaking havoc on your body.
If you carry around excess visceral fat for long, you are risking serious consequences to your health. Scientific studies have found that visceral fat is now being associated with the following conditions:
- Diabetes (type 2)–visceral fat is considered to play a crucial role in insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes.
- Cancer–visceral fat has been found to be associated with certain cancers.
- Heart disease–the inflammation secreted by visceral fat increases your cholesterol and risks heart attacks.
- Visceral fat, because it secretes inflammatory chemicals, creates a “low level inflammatory” state in the body
- Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease
- alters hormone levels
- More and more studies are starting to link visceral fat to autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- and more
In fact, I was watching Netflix yesterday, and there was a great documentary called “Extreme Bodies.” One of the episodes I was watching had a doctor briefly talking about visceral fat, and how it is being found more and more to be involved or associated with many diseases, even acne and other conditions.
That’s not to say that visceral fat is the ONLY thing that can cause those conditions, but it certainly seems to be playing a major role, and mountains of evidence continue showing the dangers of this fat. A couple of sources talking about it are linked below:
Visceral Fat vs Subcutaneous Fat Comparison
Here is a picture of an obese person from Wikipedia. Notice here that the visceral fat is the fat pushing the belly out. Remember, this fat is deep inside the stomach area, surround the organs. Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, can be spotted just under the layer of the skin. This fat tends to “fold” a lot on an overweight person.
Conclusion- Visceral Fat is Serious Business
Visceral fat is the most dangerous fat in your body. It causes a low level state of inflammation, is metabolically active, and can be leading your body into some serious diseases that can lead to an early death.
It is the sneakiest kind of fat, because (contrary to the picture above), you can often be harboring visceral fat under toned muscles. If you can pooch out your stomach, you may very well have a nice layer of visceral fat in your body.
When I read some of the articles about visceral fat, suddenly many things jumped out at me. I will talk about those in the next post, and really hit on my latest hypothesis. Some of the things that I connected together were pretty compelling–even enough so to start my latest hypothesis and experiment–which so far may be working. At least I can sweat and I feel 100 times better lately.
To read the next post in this series, click here.
In my continuing series of how I have been able to get my cholinergic urticaria under control, and some new information I have found, I am now going to talk about visceral fat. First, if you haven’t read my first articles about my hives history, I highly recommend you read those first.