It’s pinchable, soft, cushioning your waistline, hiding your six-pack and super annoying - you guessed it already: We’re talking about belly fat. It’s said to be the most persistent part of body fat and yet it is the one most of us wish would disappear first. But what is belly fat actually? Read on to learn more about its composition and find out why there are more important reasons than aesthetics why you should get rid of it.
The difference between brown and white body fat
When we’re talking about “body fat” we mostly think of all the extra pounds that cover our body which we can easily pinch with our fingers. However, when considering what science teaches us, there’s more to body fat than just an extra layer below our skin. First of all, we can distinguish two types of fat: brown and white fat. While brown fat actually burns calories and is considered as a very healthy kind of fat, it is mostly found in newborns and only exists in small amounts in the adult human body. In contrast, white body fat makes up most of our body’s fat and increases while we age. The bad news: white body fat is also the type of fat that - in surplus - can be harmful for our bodies.
Hard vs. soft belly fat - and their dangers
When having a closer look at belly fat, we find that there’s a huge difference between the visible fat that we can pinch and the invisible fat that is stored deep down in our abdominal cavity. Although the soft, visible fat known as “subcutaneous fat” is usually the one that annoys us first, the hard belly fat that resides between our organs is the one that threatens our health. Scientists have found that this so-called “visceral fat” is biologically active and influences your metabolism and hormonal balance. A high amount of visceral fat will not only increase the production of cholesterol but also the risk for serious diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure and heart diseases.
How to get rid of belly fat
Before you start panicking about your belly fat right now let us tell you this: A certain amount of body fat is actually vital for your body since it protects your inner organs and allows your body to store energy that can be used during times such as illnesses and other physical strains. When it comes to excess belly fat though, getting rid of it will not only make you feel fitter and promote your well-being but also protect you from serious physical restraints. In order to decrease both your visceral and subcutaneous fat a healthy and balanced diet, low stress levels, enough sleep and regular exercise are key to long-term success.