Fat: the good, the bad, the ugly

Fat is not just a lifeless and unsightly blob. It’s an organ. It is biologically active. Susan Fried, PhD, director of the Boston Obesity and Nutrition Research Center at Boston University and a long-time researcher in the field describes its two-fold role:

  • Fat stores excess calories in a safe way so you can mobilize the fat stores when you're hungry.
  • Fat releases hormones that control metabolism.

Not all fat is alike. Here is a short primer on the difference.

Brown Fat: Brown fat is what helps keeps you warm. Lean people and children have more brown fat than overweight or obese people. This fat, when activated burns the ‘not so good’ fat. Studies show that when you spend time in cold weather it increases. This is a good reason to turn down your thermostat or take a morning dip in cold water. Cold builds heat-generating brown fat.

White Fat: White fat stores energy and produce hormones that are then secreted into the bloodstream. Small fat cells produce a "good guy" hormone called adiponectin, which helps our body use sugar for energy rather than storing it up as fat. If we become fat, the production of adiponectin slows down or shuts down. According to Dr. Susan Fried this sets us up for disease. When it comes to fat, like real estate, location, location, location is everything. There are 2 basic types of fat that become particularly toxic when they land on the belly. 

Subcutaneous Fat: Subcutaneous fat is the fat that you measure using skin-fold calipers to estimate your total body fat. When it lands on your thighs or butt it’s not so bad. When it lodges in the belly problems emerge, especially when it partners with visceral fat.

Visceral Fat: Visceral is "deep" fat that wraps around the inner organs. It increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and dementia. Women with a waist circumference more than 31.5 inches and men with a waist circumference more than 37 inches are at increased disease risk.

Word of advice: If you are at risk, look for a system that can help you lose that toxic fat. The best fat-burning system I have found is the TLS Weight Loss solution.

Through the TLS system I have helped clients lose literally ‘tons’ of fat. I also highlight some of the products that I have found most useful here.