Many people think of fat in terms of where on your body it is, when in fact, it might be more productive to consider the type of fat that it is. Throughout the past few years, various researchers have revealed distinct types of fat, each with unique molecular properties and implications for your health.
Despite what the media would lead you to believe, not all fats are created equal. And that means that you need to stop treating them that way! To learn the differences between the disparate classes of body fat and how to get rid of them, read through the list below.
Brown fat: “Good fat”
Brown fat helps to keep the core temperature warm. Rather than store calories, brown fat actually burns energy. When exposed to cold environments, it will act like a muscle, burning calories for fuel. At this point, there is no clinical proof of “shivering yourself skinny”; but theoretically, blasting the AC while you’re sleeping can help you to maintain a healthy weight. Scientists have found that lean people and children tend to have the largest brown fat stores.
Beige fat: “Good fat”
Beige fat looks and acts like a cross between white and brown fat, but research suggests that the neutral-colored fat is its own unique cell type. Identified only a few years ago, beige fat has been difficult to study because it’s mixed in with other fats and is found in deposits near the collarbone and the spine. Researchers suspect that human beings produce beige fat through exercise or eating certain healthy foods, like grapes.
White subcutaneous fat: “Bad fat”
When you think of the fat that you want to burn most, you’re probably thinking of white subcutaneous fat. It can be found primarily in the hips, thighs and belly, and it lies directly under the skin. Experts agree that white fat is far more plentiful than brown. White fat stores energy and produces hormones that are then secreted into the bloodstream. To lose this fat quickly, the calories you take in should be less than the calories you burn off. The best way to do this is to cut down on refined carbs and empty calories while engaging in high-intensity exercise regularly.
White visceral fat: “Really bad fat”
Visceral fat, commonly referred to as “deep fat,” wraps around your inner organs, making it difficult to lose and very dangerous to have. Visceral fat can be harmful because its blood flow drains into the liver through the portal vein. This means that all the toxins and fatty acids from this type of fat end up in the liver, which can cause major problems with cholesterol. Visceral fat is particularly sensitive to the inflammatory effects of processed foods, so be sure to steer clear of these when trying to lose this fat. Experts also recommend getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night and using strength training exercises (compared to cardio).
Luckily, you can reduce visceral fat with a healthy diet (rich in unrefined foods, protein, unsaturated fatty acids, whole grains and fiber) and high-intensity exercise. In fact, visceral fat, which moves through the blood, is much easier to get rid of than stubborn subcutaneous fat.