Unwanted by many, all types of fat in the body are essential for the proper functioning of the body. What few people know is that not all fat is created equal.
There are actually three types of body fats, which are stored in different ways, and have preference when it comes to storing fat reserves when you lose weight.
White and brown are the two main types of fat in the body, but scientists have also more recently identified a third type, called beige fat.
Also known as white adipose tissue, this is the type of fat most of us think of when we talk about body fat. It is a stored fat, which means that when we consume excess calories, that extra energy goes into the body's white blood cells and is stored as lipids. These fat cells increase in size and number over time as you consume morecalories than it burns, which leads to weight gain.
Brown adipose tissue is a type of fat that is activated when you get cold. Brown fat uses energy (burns calories) to generate heat (thermogenesis), which helps maintain body temperature.
Surprisingly, it has been found that thinner individuals have more brown fat than those who are obese. Brown fat surrounds organs, major arteries and veins, and can sometimes be found in the neck and armpits, between the shoulder blades, and in the abdomen.
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Like brown fat, beige fat is linked to a healthy weight. This type of fat is spread in pea-sized deposits under the skin, near the collarbone and along the spine, according to Harvard Medical School. Although it is genetically distinct from brown fat, beige fat also burns calories to generate body heat.
Some studies have shown that hormones released during exercise, extreme stress, or time spent in the cold can turn white fat into beige or brown fat. However, most studies have been small or performed only on animals, so more research is needed to better understand beige and brown fat.
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White, brown and beige fat can be further divided into soft and hard fat.
A soft fat It is located just under the skin and acts as insulation and an energy source for the body. It is a combination of white, brown, and beige fat.
Subcutaneous fat produces beneficial molecules, such as the hormone leptin, which sends signals to the brain to inhibit hunger. adiponectin is another hormone produced by soft fat that improves the body's sensitivity to insulin and protects against type 2 diabetes. Obviously, too much white fat causes hormone levels to become unbalanced.
A visceral fat or hard belly fat is located deep in the abdomen and wrapped around the organs, arteries, and veins, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Hard fat is evident when the belly protrudes forward and is not soft. Due to the production of certain proteins, this fat is linked to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, as well as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
A essential fat is the essential fat for health, necessary for normal body function, and not considered a stored fat. It regulates hormones that control fertility, vitamin absorption, and body temperature, and is found in the bone marrow, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines, muscles, and lipid-rich tissues throughout the central nervous system.
Overall, a healthy body fat range for men is 18 to 24%, and for women it is 25 to 31%.