Monday, March 8, 2010

Where Fat Lives

Your body has plenty of hiding places to stash fat. Where fat goes is completely beyond your control—it depends on your gender, age, and genetic inheritance. But here’s the unfair part: even though you can’t choose where your body stores its fat, those locations can have serious consequences for your health. Studies show that the risks of excess fat increase dramatically when it’s stored in certain places.

Essentially, there are two basic storage zones for your fat:

• Subcutaneous fat. This fat is stored in a layer around your body, just under your skin. Once again, genetics determine where the padding is thickest. In women, common storage depots include the thighs and posterior. In men, fat is more likely to hang out around the abdomen. Subcutaneous fat is also responsible for cute baby faces and the dreaded cellulite (lumpy deposits of fat that cause a dimpled appearance in skin, usually in women).

• Visceral fat. This fat is buried under your muscles, deep inside your body. It pads the space around your internal organs. Most experts believe visceral fat is far more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, and leads to a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Subcutaneous fat is by far the more popular fat parking zone, accounting for the majority of fat in anyone’s body. Smaller quantities of fat can also end up stored in your muscles (where it’s called intramuscular fat) and inside certain organs (such as the liver), where it’s especially dangerous.

There’s no consensus on why visceral fat is the fat to fear. It’s possible that the hormones it releases interfere with the functioning of nearby organs or compels them to start storing their own fat reserves, which can cause further damage.

No matter what foods you eat or exercise you practice, you can’t remove fat from a specific part of your body. In fact, studies have shown again and again that spot reduction is impossible. Lifting weights will not cut the flab from your arms. Doing stomach crunches will not shrink your belly. And so on. Toning your muscles may improve the appearance of an otherwise chubby part of your body, but that’s all you can hope for. Incidentally, when you diet, the last place you gained fat is the first place you’ll lose it.

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual

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