Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Managing Fat: subcutaneous VS visceral

The Truth About Belly Fat
What you need to know -- and do -- about belly fat.
Belly fat: Did you know that it's not just about your waist size?

It's also about your health. And you can do something about it, starting right now, at any size.

But first, let's be clear: This is not about fat phobia. Your body needs some fat. And it's not about judging yourself or anyone else, or trying to reach some unrealistic ideal.

Instead, it's about getting a handle on your fat -- even the fat you can't see.

Location, Location, Location

That's right: You have fat you can't see. We all do.

People store most of their fat in two ways:

Just under the skin in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen. That's called subcutaneous (under the skin) fat. It's the fat that you notice.

Deeper inside, around the vital organs (heart, lungs, digestive tract, liver, etc.) in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. That's called "visceral" fat. It's so deep inside you that you can't notice it from the outside.

Many people are self-conscious about the fat they can see. But actually, it's the hidden fat -- the visceral fat -- that may be a bigger problem, even for thin people.

Like Another Organ

Fat doesn't just sit there. It makes "lots of nasty substances," says Kristen Hairston, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine.

We all have visceral fat -- and it isn't all bad. It provides necessary cushioning around organs.

The problem is when there's too much of it. That's linked to a greater chance of developing high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers (including breast cancer and colon cancer.)

How Did I Get It?

When obese, a body can run out of safe places to store fat and begin storing it in and around the organs, such as the heart and the liver.

“Fatty liver disease was, until recently, very rare in nonalcoholics. But with obesity increasing, you have people whose fat depots are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs,” says Carol Shively, PhD, professor of pathology-comparative medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Now there is much interest in fat being deposited around the heart, as well.”

Now that you know more about the fat that we all have, it's time to take action.

[...]

Thin People, Too

Even thin people can have too much visceral fat, though you'd never know it by looking at them.

It's partly about their genes. Some people have a genetic tendency to store visceral fat.

But it's also about physical activity. Visceral fat likes inactivity. For instance, a British study showed that thin people who maintain their weight through diet alone, skipping exercise, are more likely to have unhealthy levels of visceral fat.

So the message is, get active, no matter what size you are.

Controlling Belly Fat: 4 Steps to Take

There are four keys to controlling belly fat: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management. [...]

It goes on to give advice, about what works, and why.
     

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