Everywhere we turn in today’s world it seems that someone is talking about some kind of fat. It can get confusing and it can be hard to keep it straight so on this page we are going to talk about 4 different kinds of fat.
The types of fats that we eat. The fats in our bloodstream. (triglycerides) Subcutaneous fat which is the fat that lies between our body organs and the skin surface. Visceral fat which is the fat that hangs under your belly and around your organs.
Fats that we eat.
There are all kinds of fats and oils that we eat. There are saturated fats which are often considered to be harmful. They are thought to clog your arteries and cause other problems. There is a controversy over this and researchers are looking into things more deeply. At this time the federal government is advising that saturated fat is a risk factor in cardiovascular disease. There is a strong relationship between saturated fat intake, blood cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease. The relationship is considered causal. This means that it is believed that the ingestion of saturated fats cause blood cholesterol levels to rise and cardiovascular disease.
One way that the oil we eat is processed is called hydrogenated. When an oil is transformed with hydrogen it is called a “trans fat.” Hydrogenated oils are highly processed and are in many of the foods that we eat. When hydrogenated oils are processed hydrogen atoms are added to fats that weren’t saturated before. Because of the ways these oils are processed and their molecular base altered the oils last longer and don’t become rancid or go bad for a long period of time (think shortening or margarine), but the adding of the hydrogen atoms also makes the oils less healthy. Trans fats are not an essential part of a healthy diet. They raise cholesterol levels in a bad way that increases one’s risk of heart-attack by raising the bad cholesterol and lowering the good cholesterol.
Monounsaturated oils are some of the healthiest oils one can eat. Polyunsaturated oils are better than saturated fats but not as good as monounsaturated oils. Neither monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils raise cholesterol levels in a bad way like hydrogenated oils do.
If you eat out in restaurants a lot, ask how your food is prepared. Try to find out if a dish is high in trans fats. Try to find something that isn’t high in trans fats.
Fats in Our Bloodstream
The fats in our bloodstream are called triglycerides. The triglycerides are fatty deposits stored in your body in your bloodstream. Here is how it works.
Your body takes the carbohydrates that you eat and makes glucose which your cells use for energy. After that is done any leftover glucose goes to your liver and is made into glycogen which can then be stored in your muscles. After your body has enough glycogen, any leftovers are sent to the liver again. The liver makes the leftover glycogen into fat or the leftover glycogen can remain in your bloodstream. When too high a level of triglycerides are in your bloodstream your blood can thicken more easily which increases any clotting or blockage that might happen. If you have both high cholesterol and high triglycerides there is an increased possibility of heart disease.
What is Subcutaneous Fat?
Subcutaneous Fat is the fat that lies just below the skin of our bodies. While subcutaneous fat is the easiest to see, it’s also the easiest to get rid of. It may also be called adipose tissue. Subcutaneous fat has blood vessels which supply the skin with oxygen. It also stores energy which our body can use when needed. Because subcutaneous fat stores energy, it is thought that to lose subcutaneous fat, exercise and movement are better options than diet. When one doesn’t exercise and depends upon diet alone about half the weight loss is subcutaneous fat. When one exercises more than half of the weight lost could be subcutaneous fat which means that there is less muscle lost.
What is Visceral Fat?
Visceral Fat is the fat that lies around and surrounds our organs. It is living cell(s) and can pick up the toxins and problems that are in the area around it. The liver processes what is in the abdominal fat and then sends those toxins throughout the body through the blood stream. You can’t tell if you have too much abdominal fat by checking the size of your stomach. One can have a flat stomach and still have too much belly or visceral fat.
People who don’t move a lot, who smoke or drink have been shown to have more visceral fat than active people who don’t smoke or drink. Stress may also contribute to visceral fat deposits. It is harder to lose visceral fat than subcutaneous fat. Losing weight through a healthy combination of diet and exercise can help. It is shown that people who eat 30% or more of their daily calories in fat are more likely to have large amounts of visceral fat. Many consider the best exercise to lose visceral fat is walking. Doing no exercise at all often causes an increase in visceral body fat.
On one show Oprah showed what belly fat looked like and how it was dangerous. You can see the slides regarding the comparison of the amount of visceral fat is important.
Visceral fat is linked to type II diabetes, insulin resistance, heart disease, stroke and other problems. In women it may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer and gall bladder surgery.