What We Should Know About Different Types of Harmful Body Fat

There are several reasons why people gain weight. A few reasons are people not exercising enough, eating correctly, and feeling experiencing ongoing stress. Unfortunately, these lifestyle decisions can result in weight gain and having more body fat. There are a few forms of body fat known as visceral and subcutaneous. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between the two and how to combat unhealthy fat. We also discuss how a low carb, high fat diet can help people lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle in the Body Reboot book.

The main cause of excess body fat: 

Medical News Today discusses the main reason for excess body fat below: 

Sugary food, such as cakes and candy, and drinks, such as soda and fruit juice, can:

cause weight gain

slow a person's metabolism

reduce a person's ability to burn fat

Low-protein, high-carb diets may also affect weight. Protein helps a person feel fuller for longer, and people who do not include lean protein in their diet may eat more food overall.

Trans fats, in particular, can cause inflammation and may lead to obesity. Trans fats are in many foods, including fast food and baked goods, for example, muffins or crackers.

The American Heart Association recommend that people replace trans fats with healthful whole-grain foods, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.

Reading food labels can help a person determine whether their food contains trans fats.

Two types of body fat: 

1. Intra-Abdominal Fat

Popsugar explains what intra-abdominal fat is and how it relates to your glucose and insulin metabolism. 

The first type of belly fat to know about is intra-abdominal fat, which Dr. David Greuner, a New York City surgeon, describes as fat that's closely related to your glucose and insulin metabolism. “Intra-abdominal fat is that inside the peritoneal cavity, made up of fat on and within the organs (liver and intestines) and the omentum (an apron of fat that hangs off the stomach),” he says.

2. Subcutaneous Fat

Another type of body fat is subcutaneous fat, which is just beneath your skin. Livestrong tells us a little bit more about subcutaneous fat: 

Subcutaneous fat is the fat just under the skin. If you are wondering why you cannot see your six-pack abs, it is probably because subcutaneous fat is covering them. The cells in this type of fat are active and can contribute to the development of disease, but the placement and activity level of the cells of this type of fat makes it less dangerous than visceral fat.

Two ways to combat harmful body fat: 

1. Go on a low carb diet 

Now that you know about a few different types of unhealthy body fat, Healthline offers a few ways to combat harmful body fat. One way to fight excess fat is by eating fewer carbs. One way to do that is to go on the keto diet, which is a high fat, low carb diet. By starving your body of carbs, you’re forcing it to burn fat and thus, lose weight. 

Carb restriction is a very effective way to lose fat.

This is supported by numerous studies. When people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight.

Over 20 randomized controlled trials have now shown that low-carb diets lead to 2–3 times more weight loss than low-fat diets.

This is true even when the low-carb groups are allowed to eat as much as they want, while the low-fat groups are calorie restricted and hungry.

Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near instant results. A difference on the scale is often seen within 1–2 days.

There are also studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, showing that low-carb diets specifically target the fat in the belly, and around the organs and liver.

What this means is that a particularly high proportion of the fat lost on a low-carb diet is the dangerous and disease promoting abdominal fat.

Just avoiding the refined carbs (sugar, candy, white bread, etc) should be sufficient, especially if you keep your protein intake high.

However, if you need to lose weight fast, then consider dropping your carbs down to 50 grams per day. This will put your body into ketosis, killing your appetite and making your body start burning primarily fats for fuel.

Of course, low-carb diets have many other health benefits besides just weight loss. They can have life-saving effects in type 2 diabetics, for example.

Diabetic Medicine did a study in 2007 that found that people who went on a low carb diet lost weight after going on a low carb diet. During the study, the diet also helped people both with and without diabetes. 

Background  Low‐carbohydrate diets are effective for weight reduction in people without diabetes, but there is limited evidence for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Aims  To assess the impact of a low‐carbohydrate diet on body weight, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), ketone and lipid levels in diabetic and non‐diabetic subjects.

Methods  Thirteen Type 2 diabetic subjects (on diet or metformin) and 13 non‐diabetic subjects were randomly allocated to either a low‐carbohydrate diet (≤ 40 g carbohydrate/day) or a healthy‐eating diet following Diabetes UK nutritional recommendations and were seen monthly for 3 months. Subjects (25% male) were (mean ± sd) age 52 ± 9 years, weight 96.3 ± 16.6 kg, body mass index 35.1 kg/m2, HbA1c 6.6 ± 1.1%, total cholesterol 5.1 ± 1.1 mmol/l, high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol 1.3 ± 0.4 mmol/l, low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol 3.1 ± 0.9 mmol/l, triglycerides (geometric mean) 1.55 (1.10, 2.35) mmol/l and ketones range 0.0–0.2 mmol/l.

Results  Analysis was by intention to treat with last observation carried forward. Twenty‐two of the participants (85%) completed the study. Weight loss was greater (6.9 vs. 2.1 kg, P = 0.003) in the low‐carbohydrate group, with no difference in changes in HbA1c, ketone or lipid levels.

Conclusions  The diet was equally effective in those with and without diabetes.

Also, in 2003, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism revealed that their groups experienced weight loss, and their fat mass significantly decreased throughout their study. 

Body weight and body fat in the low fat and very low carbohydrate groups were similar at baseline (Table 1). After the initiation of the diets, both groups had a decrease in body weight that was more rapid in the earlier weeks of observation and became less pronounced as the study progressed (Fig. 3). The women in the very low carbohydrate group lost an average of 7.6 ± 0.7 kg after 3 months and 8.5 ± 1.0 kg after 6 months of diet. Women following the low fat diet lost 4.2 ± 0.8 and 3.9 ± 1.0 kg at 3 and 6 months, respectively. The amount of weight lost was significantly greater in the very low carbohydrate group compared with the low fat group, whether analyzed as intention to treat with all randomized subjects in the analysis (P < 0.001 at 3 and 6 months) or with only the subjects who completed the trial (Fig. 3; P < 0.001 at 3 and 6 months).

Both fat mass and fat-free mass decreased significantly (P < 0.001) in the two groups over the course of the trial. However, similar to body weight, fat mass and lean body mass decreased significantly more in the very low carbohydrate group compared with the low fat group at both 3 and 6 months (P < 0.01). The reduced fat mass comprised 50–60% of the weight lost in both groups. There were no changes in bone mineral content over the course of the study.

2. Exercise more

Another way to combat harmful body fat is to exercise more. Healthline further elaborates on why this is so important when trying to keep your body weight at a healthy level. 

Exercise is important for various reasons.

It is among the best things you can do if you want to live a long, healthy life and avoid disease.

Listing all of the amazing health benefits of exercise is beyond the scope of this article, but exercise does appear to be effective at reducing belly fat.

However, keep in mind that I'm not talking about abdominal exercises here. Spot reduction (losing fat in one spot) is not possible, and doing endless amounts of ab exercises will not make you lose fat from the belly.

In one study, 6 weeks of training just the abdominal muscles had no measurable effect on waist circumference or the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.

That being said, other types of exercise can be very effective.

Aerobic exercise (like walking, running, swimming, etc) has been shown to cause major reductions in belly fat in numerous studies.

Another study found that exercise completely prevented people from re-gaining abdominal fat after weight loss, implying that exercise is particularly important during weight maintenance.

Exercise also leads to reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar levels and improvements in all the other metabolic abnormalities that are associated with excess abdominal fat.

The Body Reboot book tells you how the keto diet can help you lose weight and keep harmful body fat away. Visit this page to get yourself a free copy ASAP before they’re gone!

Sources: Popsugar, Medical News Today, Healthline, Diabetic Medicine, 26 November 2007, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 1 April 2003

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