You know them and sometimes you wish you were them, and if you are them you thank your lucky stars. We all know that person that can eat anything and still stay slim and trim. This can be a common phenomenon with a fast acting metabolism but there may be more going on underneath the skin than we are aware of.
I am not talking about those out there that eat healthy, exercise and maintain a healthy body weight. This info is directed towards the people who frequently find themselves indulging in burgers, chips, and chocolate and don’t gain a pound.
Let’s break fat down for a moment. First, dietary fat does not make you fat, and eating healthy fats like avocados and coconut oil do not directly correlate to fat mass. Now let’s break down adipose and visceral fat. Adipose tissue is that lovely spare tire we get around the midsection, the fat that is visible on our body. A moderate amount of adipose tissue is good and actually helps our body modulate some hormonal function. Emphasis on moderate here, North America has ever expanding waist lines and by no means am I supporting this. When we have too much adipose tissue our body begins to store is as visceral fat, which is a more dangerous type of fat.
Visceral fat is the fat that accumulates around our organs and is not limited to the obese population. This is where the term “skinny fat” comes into play. The genetic makeup and metabolism of some of the population leaves them very slender and allows them to eat whatever with no consequence. If we take a deeper look at these people there are actually significant long-term consequences. Shockingly enough, those that meet the criteria for skinny fat do in fact have the internal picture and body functions of that of an obese person.
Why is visceral fat so dangerous? Well, it is the fat that envelops our organs and puts undue pressure on their function, especially the heart and liver. Additional stress on the heart leads to high blood pressure, which increases risk of heart disease and stroke. Poor diets can leave your blood sugars all over the map, which can lead to developing type 2 diabetes.
Visceral fat is actually toxic to our bodies. It can signal inflammatory pathways and trigger abnormal hormone functioning that regulates the brain, mood, weight, and appetite. Insulin is one of the main regulators of fat accumulation. When we consume carbohydrate-rich diets, insulin remains elevated which then triggers the accumulation of fat.
Increased visceral fat also increases risks of mood disorders, including depression. It can also negatively impact brain health and may lead to dementia. So although you may look healthy on the outside it is not a good indicator of what’s going on inside.
Avoiding this fate is easier than you anticipate, and certainly involves advice we have all heard before. It includes:
- Get at least 30-60 minutes a day of exercise
- Get up and move around as often as possible
- High Intensity Interval Training is best to burn fat
- 80% of the time eat as healthy as possible with emphasis on a plant based diet, well balanced meals with regular timing of food.
- 20% of the time live a little
- Stay hydrated
- Have an advocate for your health – whether it is a naturopathic doctor or not – you need someone looking out for your health
- Take care of your brain: puzzles, supplements, water
- Do one thing a day that makes you feel you are taking care of yourself. Anything from writing a positive note, to shaving your legs (or facial hair)
As always, we are here to help you be your best self. To get the conversation started on how you can start the New Year on a healthier note, contact us here.