Fat is one of the three nutrients used by your body as an energy source. The other two are carbohydrate and protein.
A couple of reasons why fat is a necessary component in health is because it provides energy, produces hormones, cell membrane ingredient, boosts immunity, is essential for healthy skin and assists with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
Often, fat is used interchangeably with adipose tissue, cellulite and obesity.
Adipose tissue is loose connective tissue primarily made up of adipocytes. It’s located beneath your skin, around internal organs and in bone marrow. Why adipose tissue is healthy is because it’s a source of stored energy, provides insulation in hot or cold environments and furnishes a protective padding to your abdominal organs.
There are two types of adipose tissues: white and brown.
White adipose tissue stores energy. After your body has used up available calories from carbohydrates it begins to rely on fat for energy. This shift occurs after about 20 minutes of exercise.
Adipose tissue acts as insulator to help maintain your body’s temperature. White adipose tissue, just below your skin’s surface, is important because it blocks the loss of your body’s heat to a substantially greater degree than any other tissues.
Brown adipose tissue has the unique ability to generate heat. Tests reveal that healthy adults have a sizable amount of brown fat in their front and back neck region.
Visceral fat lies deep inside your abdomen, padding abdominal organs. Why that’s important for your health is it thwarts potential damage via knocking, rubbing, etc.
However, belly fat, in excess of the vital cushioning effect, increases your risk of:
Visceral waist fat caves in to regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Cellulite is that deposit of visible, puckered adipose tissue that looks like cottage cheese. What causes cellulite is fat deposits distorting the connective tissue under your skin.
Gender, age, skin thickness, heredity, amount of adipose tissue and distribution of body fat influence its presence and visibility. Its appearance is much more common in women because of differences in the way fat, muscle and connective tissue are distributed.
In health, this dimpled appearance of the skin is not considered abnormal nor unhealthy. However, it may have a psychological effect because of the visual preference for smooth looking skin.
The voracious dislike for the appearance of cellulite sends many on a quest to find a solution. Beware that many treatments make unsubstantiated claims or may only provide a temporary fix.
Eating a healthy diet and keeping your muscles toned with regular exercise is probably a more sustainable approach for keeping taut and smooth.
Obesity is an abnormally high accumulation of adipose tissue. Excessive weight gain is caused by more calories consumed than are burned. And the excess is stored as fatty tissue.
Obesity can give rise to many health issues, including:
- heart attack
- gum disease
- heart disease
- high cholesterol
- insulin resistance
- decreased fertility
- disabling dyspnea
- gout, gouty arthritis
- metabolic syndrome
- adult onset of asthma
- congestive heart failure
- pregnancy complications
- hypoventilation syndrome
- adult onset type 2 diabetes
- sleep apnea, sleeping disorders
- gallbladder problems ~ gallstones
- menstrual irregularities, amenorrhea
- arthritis, osteoarthritis ~ knees, hips, lower back
- cancer ~ breast, colon, rectal, prostate, endometrial
- skin problems ~ bacteria, fungus infection & other skin fold issues
Cancer is not conclusively proven, but some links to obesity have been observed.
If your pattern of body fat distribution is apple shaped, then you are more likely to develop many of these health problems associated with obesity. Most women are pear shaped, yet some transition to apple after menopause.
There are many factors that can contribute to obesity, like:
- slow metabolism
- physical inactivity
- diet high in simple carbohydrates
- hormones ~ pregnancy, menopause
- eating frequency ~ large, infrequent meals
- psychological factors ~ boredom, sadness, stress, anger
Obesity can also be a side effect of certain disorders and conditions, including:
- insulin resistance
- Cushing’s syndrome
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- neurological disturbances ~ damage to hypothalamus which helps regulate appetite
Medications can be a cause for adding some pounds, for instance:
- oral contraceptives
- corticosteroids ~ prednisone
- antidepressants for depression
- high blood pressure medication
- anticonvulsants for controlling seizures
- diabetes medications to lower blood sugar
Achieve and maintain a “healthier weight” and this will counteract many of the effects of obesity on your health. And some of those psychological effects of cellulite too.
Prescription medications or OTC weight-loss products are available to assist with losing weight, but they can cause:
Here’s some natural alternatives that may help you inch down your weight:
- red peppers & mustard ~ accelerates metabolic rate
- acupressure, acupuncture ~ suppresses food cravings
- play soft, slow music during meals ~ eat less food, enjoy it more
- dandelion ~ can raise metabolism & counter sugary foods desires
- walnuts ~ contain brain chemical serotonin that signals you’ve eaten enough
- diuretic herbs ~ increases urine output causing quick weight loss, but it won’t last
- correct protein, carbohydrates, good fats diet ratio ~ enhancement of the metabolism
- psyllium, in laxatives such as Metamucil ~ absorbs fluid and makes you feel full sooner
- visualization, meditation ~ creates, reinforces positive self-image for weight loss determination
- yoga ~ improves physical strength, mental concentration, emotional serenity enhancing determination
BTW, health care providers that deal in the treatment of obesity are referred to as bariatric doctors.