Comments (0)November 20th, 2009Posted by Dr. Charles D.C. in Fat Burning Tips

What on earth is subcutaneous fat and visceral fat why is it extremely important to know?

One major aid in losing weight and improving your physique is knowing the science of what you’re trying to fix. If you’re going after a tighter upper body, reducing your stomach fat, or just trying to look more in shape, it’s important to realize what is healthy and unhealthy. There are two major factors to a dedicated diet and exercise program: your body being more attractive and being better looking. Both are important, but no matter how much you care about your looks, being healthy and in shape should be important.

One of the biggest problems that Americans have with their bodies, especially men, is an excess of fat in the abdomen and stomach area. It’s important to know what is going on with your stomach fat, how to get rid of it, and how to properly grow muscle in your abdomen as well. There are no easy fixes to an out of shape body, but it’s important to do the right workout and diet. Following the food pyramid, getting enough protein, and working out your abdominals is important. But to do so, you have to have knowledge about what exactly you’re trying to fix.

There are two types of fat in the abdominal area, as well as around the whole body: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Although an excess of either is problematic, visceral fat is the real villain of the torso. Subcutaneous fat is found directly beneath the skin, and when measured, it can be directly correlated to adiposity and obesity. Subcutaneous fat is contained between the muscle and skin in the peritoneal cavity, and is much more of a cosmetic issue than a health risk. There do exist; however, some benefits to having the right amount of—not too much—subcutaneous fat. The fat exists to create a thermal layer that keeps you warm in cold weather, absorb hits to the area, and can be used as an energy source as well. However, an excess of this fat is scientifically correlated with obesity and heart disease.

The second type of fat in the abdomen, called visceral fat, is the dangerous of the two. Also known as abdominal or intra-abdominal fat, visceral fat exists between your organs and torso, underneath your abdominal muscles. An excess of this fat is known as obesity, and a “beer belly” is the indicator of excess visceral fat. Having too much visceral fat leads to heart disease, but it harms more than just the heart. Excess fat, according to the American Heart Association, raises blood cholesterol, raises blood pressure, and can induce diabetes. Excess fat is measured by your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is the ratio of your weight to height squared, in metric (kg/m2). Obesity is defined as having a BMI of over 30, and being overweight is having a BMI of over 25. So, for an example, a six foot tall man weighing over 185 pounds is overweight, and if he is over 220 pounds, he is obese.

The key to reducing visceral and subcutaneous fat is exercise and diet. Eat natural foods that have not been processed, intake the right amounts of vegetables, fruits, and proteins, and do not overeat. Find out how many calories per day fit your lifestyle and stick to that. According to the International Journal of Obesity, at least ten hours per week of exercise is required to lose that fat. Also, shorter, more intense cardio workouts are more beneficial than longer, easier workouts. However, ten hours a week is nothing compared to all of the money and hardship that comes with obesity and the risk factors of heart disease.

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Dr. Michael Allen
Fitness Instructor & Fat Loss Factor™ Founder

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