Body Fat: Good vs Bad


body fat percent

We all know that body fat is not good for us.  Those cute, little (or big) squeezable love handles can be both hurting or helping us.  However with all the information out there and with little time to research what are you going to do?

Take a deep breath, let’s dig in to body fat a little further.  Here’s what we know, body fat can be good or bad.  There are five main types of body fat: white, brown, subcutaneous, visceral and belly fat. Let’s look into them briefly:

White Body Fat – Stores energy and produces hormones into the bloodstream.  The larger we get the slower this production goes upping our chances of heart disease and diabetes.

Brown Body Fat – Recent studies show brown fat is now more related to muscle than it is to white fat (good thing).  In turn brown fat even burns white fat (Hooray!)

Subcutaneous Fat – This is the fat directly under your skin.  It’s what’s most often measured when getting the “pinch test” for body fat.  This fat in low doses is not great however it’s not as bad as visceral or belly fat.

Visceral Fat – This stuff is what covers your organs.  Not a good fat and having it severely ups your chances for health problems down the line.

Belly Fat – Is actually visceral and subcutaneous combined.  At this point doctors don’t have a 100% sure way to tell which is which, irregardless a big belly or hips (unless pregnant) is never a good sign!

I recently came across some stats in Marie Claire that diced up exercise and fat %’s in terms of fertility. To summarize, they said that women who spent five hours a week moderately exercising were 18% more likely to conceive than those who spent less than an hour a week exercising.  However on the opposite side, those who spent over five hours a week were decreasing their fertility chances by up to 42%!  So we know exercise is essential to helping rid the unhealthy body fat but there is an exercise sweet spot. Five hours a week is key. Even aside from fertility reasoning, over five hours a week, unless training for a marathon is still unnecessary and potentially harmful to your body by over conditioning.

So using the knowledge on body fat, how can you find out what yours is?  Here’s a great article I found in Shape Magazine online that discusses the normal to overboard ways you can try to determine your actual body fat %.  After all weighing in on a scale is great to get a ballpark figure and looking at your body in the mirror (without blindfolds) is great too, however it doesn’t differentiate how much of your weight is water, muscle, or body fat.

Body Fat Testing: What You Need to Know – Shape Magazine.

Other sources:  WebMD,Marie Claire

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