The two sides of body fat

Men's Health |

Your gut may be attacking you from the inside.

Obese body

113kg, 40% body fat.

• Fat infestation: Visceral fat wraps around your liver, kidneys, and pancreas, releasing compounds that promote inflammation. This is also the fat that pushes out your gut, giving you a Buddha belly.

• Bumpy bulges: Subcutaneous fat (just under the skin) creates bulges on your body. The effect is primarily cosmetic, though.

Healthy body

68kg, 18% body fat.

• Flatter gut: When you lose visceral fat, your abdomen cavity contracts, giving you a narrower waistline and flatter belly. This has a positive domino effect that can result in lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and improved insulin sensitivity.

• Low-fat flesh: Exercise can’t eliminate all of the fat on your frame, nor would you want it to. “Even elite athletes rarely dip below 6% body fat,” says weight-loss coach Alan Aragon. “We need at least that much to protect our organs and regulate body temperature and hormones.”


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