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This Month In Health
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  • All about Fat
    Fat stores energy, protects your internal organs, and helps keep you warm. It also plays a role in hormone regulation and metabolism. And while you may hate it all, there is actually good fat and bad fat. Read on to learn more about the various types of fat found in your body. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

All about Fat

Here’s what you need to know about the five types of body fat.

People spend thousands of dollars and countless hours and give nonstop sweat and tears to eliminate one thing: fat. Belly fat, thigh fat, arm fat, leg fat— you name it and people hate it. What many people don’t realize is that there are different types of fat and they each serve a different purpose.

There are scientists whose job is to study fat. Current research reveals interesting facts, but there are still a lot of unknowns.

Fat stores energy, protects your internal organs, and helps keep you warm. It also plays a role in hormone regulation and metabolism. And while you may hate it all, there is actually good fat and bad fat. Read on to learn more about the various types of fat found in your body.

Brown

Called brown because of its darker color, brown fat is the type of fat you want more of in your body. Once believed to be useless fat, brown fat has been found to actually burn calories and other types of fat when stimulated.

Thin people typically have more brown fat than overweight people. Brown fat is especially high in babies and children to help keep them warm. Scientists are working to discover a way to stimulate or increase the amount of brown fat in overweight people as a promising way to promote weight loss.

White

When you think of body fat, you likely think of white fat. It’s white in color and much more plentiful in your body, making up as much as 90 percent of your fat. Unlike brown fat, white fat stores calories, makes hormones, and helps protect your organs. This type of fat plays a role in regulating insulin levels, appetite, and stress hormones. Have too much white fat and you’re considered overweight.

Beige

In addition to brown and white, you’ve got beige fat. Turning beige fat into brown fat rather than white fat may be a key to obesity prevention and treatment. Studies suggest that stress and cold temperatures may stimulate your white fat to turn beige. Wonder what type of stress is good for turning fat beige? Exercise. During exercise, proteins are produced that may be the key to losing white fat. Food such as hot peppers, brown seaweed, and licorice root may also work to convert fat to beige.

Subcutaneous

Directly under your skin you’ll find a layer of fat known as subcutaneous fat. This is the fat used to determine your total body fat via the skin-fold test. Find directions and calculators online to help you figure your body fat percentage.

Made up of brown, white, and beige fat cells, it’s healthy to have some level of subcutaneous fat, as long as it’s not all white fat. Women should measure between 13 and 31 percent in total body fat and men between 5 and 25 percent.
Need to lower your overall body fat? It’s all about calorie control—fewer calories in and more calories out, so eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise.

Visceral

If there’s any type of fat you don’t want, it’s visceral fat. Also called belly fat, this type of white fat is stored around your waist. Surrounding your internal organs, visceral fat is linked to a number of different health conditions including insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and type 2 diabetes. Colon cancer, stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease are also associated with a high amount of visceral fat.

Need to lose visceral fat? Besides cutting calories and getting exercise, avoid highly processed foods, get plenty of sleep, and practice healthy ways of managing stress.