Conquering our stubborn body fat is an ongoing battle many face – but the best way to win any battle is by being informed and prepared.
While it may look similar to the naked eye, not all body fat is created equal. To the human body, there are three different types of fat each of which was a unique function, location, and a different set of risks or benefits.
Together, let’s review the three types of fat found in the human body.
Essential fat, such as that in your bone marrow, central nervous system and in your heart, is critical to basic body functioning
Brown fat is thought to be more like a muscle than like white fat. When activated, brown fat burns white fat.
Brown fat can be your friend! In a 150 pound person, who may have about 20 pounds of fat, there are only 2-3 “ounces” of brown fat, but if maximally stimulated, it can burn up to 500 calories a day, enough to lose about a pound per week.
Its known that cold temperatures stimulates brown fat activation, although it is not currently well understood how to properly and consistently activate these cells.
Storage fat or White fat, however, comes from eating excess calories. Some storage fat is acceptable; it helps regulate your body temperature and cushions your organs. However, too much body fat — especially the kind that makes your waistline expand — can endanger your health – not to mention its unsightly appearance.
White fat has one job, which is to store energy. Small fat cells produce a hormone called adiponectin (say that ten times fast!), which makes the muscle and liver sensitive to insulin, protecting you from diabetes and heart disease. When weight gain is excessive, adiponectin decreases, setting the individual up for the previously mentioned conditions.
Geneticists have located distinct regions in the human genome that are associated with fat distribution, and several genes in particular appear to have a greater influence on waist-to-hip ratio in women than in men.
The Two Types of White Fat
Storage or white fat is subdivided in two different categories.
Visceral fat – Visceral fat or deep fat is located around the inner organs. A big belly is the manifestation of increase visceral fat and consequentially increase risk for cardiovascular disease.
Research suggests that visceral fat releases cytokines that increase inflammation. This inflammatory response is linked to weight gain and may increase subcutaneous fat.
Subcutaneous fat – This fat is located directly under the skin and is use to calculate your total body fat. Subcutaneous fat cells may not be that bad in the thighs and gluteal area; but it’s a different story in the abdomen.
Fat Loss Is Math, Not Magic
Unfortunately, we can’t target from where on our body we want to lose fat. Your body mobilizes excess fat for energy when it senses a calorie deficit.
Your belly fat is some of the first fat to be mobilized, but the longer you stay on a diet and exercise plan, you will notice weight loss in other areas too.
Weight loss is usually proportional, so your body shape will stay intact. If you’re a pear shape, when you lose weight you’ll shrink to a more petite pear, but still have a comparatively larger lower body and smaller shoulders. The less belly fat you have to lose, the sooner your body will dip into subcutaneous stores for loss.
Regardless of the type of fat you want to use, the process is the same. You must reduce your calorie intake below what you burn daily. A deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories is usually recommended as this yields a healthy 1- to 2-pound per week loss. For petite or inactive women, a 1,000-calorie deficit may cut calories too low, so cutting only 250 to 500 calories may be recommended. Losing weight too quickly increases the amount of muscle you lose, instead of fat, and increases the likelihood weight will be regained.
When you reduce calories below what you burn and exercise more, you’ll lose that harmful deep-belly fat first. The metabolically active nature of visceral fat, which is what makes it so threatening in terms of your health, also makes it vulnerable to loss.
Subcutaneous fat is far more stubborn and harder to lose. Subcutaneous fat may not be aesthetically pleasing to you, but it doesn’t carry the same health risks. Your body holds on to it for cases of starvation, emergency or, in the case of women, childbearing. Intramuscular fat may be used for energy; your ability to use this fat more efficiently increases with your fitness level.
CoolSculpting – The Game-Changing Solution
For individuals with moderate amounts of subcutaneous fat, CoolSculpting is a game-changing solution to treat stubborn areas of fat – including the abdomen, flanks, bra roll, arms, submental (double chin) and thighs.
According to a clinical study, “CoolSculpting is a promising procedure for nonsurgical fat reduction and body contouring and presents a compelling alternative to liposuction and other, more invasive methods…. This procedure appears to be safe, with a limited side effect profile, and results in significant fat reduction when used for localized adiposities.”