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You might have heard people say that when it comes to body fat, there are good types and bad types. What those people are referring to is subcutaneous fat versus visceral fat, and they definitely have a valid point.
Subcutaneous fat is fat stored in your buttocks, legs, arms, or basically anywhere in your body except for your belly. That belly fat is what we call visceral fat. Rather than being stored on top of muscle and underneath skin, visceral fat is stored beneath your abdominal muscles and all around your internal organs.
As you might have guess, visceral fat is the “bad fat”, whereas subcutaneous fat is the “good fat”. To be fair, a lot of extra subcutaneous fat isn’t exactly good, either. There is a point at which excess subcutaneous fat can also be unhealthy. It also might bother you, simply for the sake of appearance. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is drastically more harmful to your health.
That’s because it’s stored around your organs, and it doesn’t simply sit there. Remember, fat is living tissue that can release hormones that can affect nearby organs (like your liver or pancreas). Increased visceral fat has been linked to problems like higher LDL cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and greater risk for type 2 diabetes.
Even “thin” people can carry visceral fat, so this isn’t all about visible differences in body size! To get an idea of how much visceral fat you’re carrying, it’s important to visit a weight loss physician.
Now for the good news: Because it is located so close to the liver, visceral fat is often the first to go when you lose weight. So, even a small to moderate weight loss is likely to greatly reduce your risk of serious health complications.
On that note, give us a call if you’re concerned about your weight and how it might affect your health. Along with administering a general exam, a weight loss physician can help you understand how your body type might raise or lower your risk for certain diseases. Then, together we can help you decide what to do about it.