No, this is not a discussion of monounsaturated versus hydroxgenated fat. This is about the relatively benign fat that accumulates on your hips, rear end, or arms–the “good”–versus the deep visceral fat that encircles your intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and heart–the “bad.”
And I’m not talking about what looks good or bad. We’ve all seen the unsightly flabby upper arms of an overweight woman or the cellulite on her bulging thighs. It might look awful but, metabolically speaking, it is benign.
It’s that muffin top, love handle, or wheat belly that encircles the waist, a marker for underlying deep visceral fat, that:
–Increases release of inflammatory mediators/markers like tumor necrosis factor, leptin, interleukins, and c-reactive protein
–Is itself inflamed. When examined under a microscope, visceral fat is riddled with inflammatory white blood cells.
–Stops producing the protective hormone, adiponectin.
–Traffics in fatty acids that enter the bloodstream, resulting in greater resistance to insulin, fat deposition in the liver (fatty liver), and increases blood levels of triglycerides
–Predicts greater cardiovascular risk. A flood of recent studies (here’s one) has demonstrated that larger quantities of pericardial fat (i.e., visceral fat encircling the heart, visible on a CT scan or echocardiogram) are associated with increased likelihood of coronary disease and cardiovascular risk.
You can even have excessive quantities of bad visceral fat without much in the way of fat elsewhere. You know the body shape: skinny face, skinny arms, skinny legs . . . protuberant, flaccid belly, the so-called “skinny obese” person.
Nobody knows why fat in visceral stores is so much more evil and disease-related than, say, wheat on your backside. While you may struggle to pull your spreading backside into your jeans, it’s waist girth that is the problem. You need to lose it.
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