6 Kinds Of Fat In Your Body And What You Should Do About Them

The different kinds of fat in your body

We usually just use the word ‘fat’ as a general term to describe all our pudgy areas, but there’s actually more than one kind of fat. There are six different kinds of fat in your body and not all of them are bad. In fact, without certain kinds of fat, you wouldn’t even be alive. If you’re going on a fitness plan to lose ‘fat’, it’s important that you know what kinds of fat you should lose. Understanding the many types of fat in your body is also essential for you to be able to interpret your body fat percentage correctly. So before you can wage war against your fat, here are the six kinds of fat you should know about.

1. Essential Fat

Essential fat is important for normal functioning

If you’re nursing dreams of one day going down to 0% body fat, then you’re chasing after an unattainable goal. This kind of fat helps your body absorb vitamins, maintains the integrity of cells and acts as insulation to keep your body warm. Essential fat is found in your bone marrow, it lines your organs to cushion them from impact and within your nerve membranes.

Should
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You Lose It?

If you did away with essential fat, your body would immediately experience dangerous side effects. In general, women need more essential fat than men do, which is why recommended body fat percentages for women are usually higher. When women have less than 10% body fat, their hormones become seriously imbalanced and their period stops completely. Some studies even suggest that abnormally low body fat can put you at a risk for type 2 diabetes. When you’re trying to reduce your body fat percentage, set a healthy goal for yourself after consulting a doctor or nutritionist.

2. White Fat

White fat acts as an energy store for our body

White fat is well, white. Its white color is because there are very few mitochondria and blood cells present in it. The low density of mitochondria means that there isn’t much energy burning activity taking place, which explains the primary function of white fat. White fat is your body’s biggest fallback source of energy. Usually your body utilizes glucose from carbs as fuel, but if you don’t supply enough glucose to your body, it falls back on its white fat reserve instead. White fat also contains a hormone called leptin which acts as a signal for satiety.

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You Lose It?

While a certain amount of white fat is perfectly fine, a high percentage of white fat can be very dangerous. If you have too much white fat, then your body becomes desensitized to the leptin hormone it produces. This means you end up eating more than you should, consequently gaining even more white fat in the process. For women, 21-25% body fat is considered good, while men should fall within the range of 14-17%. Anything higher than this means you have excess white fat in your body which you should lose for better health.

3. Brown Fat

 Brown fat burns itself to keep us warm

Brown

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fat is the exact opposite of white fat, proving how diverse the functions of fat actually are. Brown fat is brown because it contains a very high density of mitochondria (remember, ‘the powerhouse of the cell’). Brown fat keeps your body warm by burning fatty acids. Think of it as kindling that prevents your body from getting too cold.

Should You Lose It?

Brown fat is healthy for your body and doesn’t really pose a health risk. There has been some debate over whether you can convert white fat into brown fat, but the evidence points towards this being far from possible. Instead, you can stimulate your brown fat to burn more white fat. A surprising way to do this is to turn down your thermostat by a few degrees. One study found that at a temperature of 60.8 degrees, brown fat activity increased substantially.

4. Beige Fat

Beige fat performs a combination of both functions

Beige

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fat might look like a mix of brown and white fat, but it’s actually a unique type of fat entirely. However, it does act like a combination of white and brown fat. It can burn itself like brown fat, but it can also store energy like white fat. While you can’t convert white fat brown, you can turn it beige. If you’re struggling with obesity, beiging your white fat should be a top priority.

Should You Lose It?

Rather than losing beige fat, you should focus on converting your existing white fat beige. One way to do this is by exercising. Studies have shown that exercise is one of the most effective ways to turn your white fat beige. Once it becomes beige, this fat is much easier to burn, unlike white fat which is very stubborn. Sleeping in colder temperatures can also encourage white fat to transform into beige fat.

5. Subcutaneous Fat

 Subcutaneous fat is found just below our skin

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you pinch your skin, the fat that you can hold is your subcutaneous fat. This fat lies right below your skin. It makes up almost 90% of the total fat in your body and is a mixture of white, brown and beige fat. Some amount of subcutaneous fat is normal and healthy. However, if the composition of your subcutaneous fat is mostly white, then this can jeopardize your health.

Should You Lose It?

Subcutaneous fat is measured with the help of calipers. A trained professional will pinch your skin with calipers to check how much subcutaneous fat you have. If your subcutaneous fat falls above the normal range, then you need to lose it. The most effective way to zap subcutaneous fat is through your diet. Maintaining a calorie deficit- eating less calories than you’re using up- is the best way to lose subcutaneous fat.

6. Visceral Fat

Visceral fat is found in our abdominal cavity and is dangerous

The

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universally detested belly fat is medically known as visceral fat. Visceral fat is found within your abdominal area, around your pancreas, liver and heart. This kind of fat is white which is why it’s so difficult to lose. Visceral fat isn’t just bad from an aesthetic perspective, it’s also dangerous for your health. Research shows that a high amount of visceral fat can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and a stroke.

Should You Lose It?

If there was one kind of fat you definitely need to lose, it would be visceral fat. To determine if you have too much visceral fat, measure your waist and hips at their widest point and divide both these measurements. A result below 1.0 for men and 0.85 for women is considered normal. However, anything more than this is dangerous. Maintaining a calorie deficit can help you lose visceral fat. It’s also important that you cut processed, inflammatory foods from your diet because they feed visceral fat.