Skinny fat – are you fat on the inside?

An interesting fact – thin people can sometimes carry the more detrimental kind of fat – and not know it.

It’s not uncommon for people who look slim and healthy to be collecting unhealthy (and potentially dangerous) amounts of internal fat around their organs, according to the Medical Research Council in the UK. Doctors used MRI body scanners to show that even slim people can still have high levels of internal fat collecting around vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas – visceral fat. These people, sometimes known as ‘skinny-fats’ could be putting their health at risk.

What causes this ‘skinny fat’?

The simple answer – body composition – the ratio of fat to muscle. Those carrying this skinny fat, lack muscle mass. It’s possible to have the thinnest legs, but if those legs have no muscle the only thing covering the bones is fat.

To remove this skinny fat you need to increase your muscle mass, not by dieting, but by exercise. You are aiming for toned, firm, slim thighs, and for this you need muscle.

Women tend to have this issue more often than men as women naturally carry more fat and less muscle than men. And the women more prone are the small boned, slender ones. Also, those that have lost weight through dieting, but haven’t exercised are also prone to skinny fat.

This skinny fat is the cause of the cellulite that is a common presentation in this ‘condition’. The incidence also increase with age, as with ageing, muscle mass decreases and body fat increases.

Many skinny fat people believe they need to cut back on calories to get rid of the fat. However, dieting will do nothing to solve the problem….getting skinnier won’t help, what’s needed is an increase of muscle mass.

Adaptations and improvements to diet along with exercise are the key to resolving skinny fat.

Dietary considerations and exercise

If you’re eating lots of foods high in saturated fat, such as fried foods, junk foods, cheese, cakes and biscuits, it’s nearly all stored as visceral fat. Sugar is another culprit, including alcohol – this is prone to sitting around the abdomen as visceral fat.

Crash-dieting can also have a detrimental effect on the way your body stores visceral fat. When you regain the weight lost during a crash diet, the body stores it internally as surplus fat, as it believes it needs to hold on to it in case it’s deprived of food again.

The menopause is another cause – oestrogen levels drop at this time, which appears to encourage visceral fat to be laid down, again often around the abdomen and thigh areas.

  • Eat good fat – avocados, nuts, coconut oil, flaxseeds, olives (and oil), good-quality fish
  • Choose whole grains when consuming carbs
  • Cut down/eliminate alcohol (especially the high sugar content drinks such as white wine, bubbles, beer and spirits)
  • Reduce dairy consumption
  • Eliminate junk food, fluffy carbs – biscuits, cakes, pizza

Aim to have your ratio of food groups as follows:

  • 50% low-GI carbohydrates
  • 35% good fats
  • 15% protein

Along with diet changes, the key – MOVE! You can reduce your skinny fat with simple aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week.

Need some input to your diet and lifestyle? Book in with one of our experienced team at the Natural Chemist for advise, 1300 882 303.

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