The word body fat carries a negative association—when you hear it, you probably think of stubborn, excess body fat that keeps you from attaining your dream physique. But body fat isn’t all bad, and in fact it serves vital functions in the body. We’ll take you through the three kinds of body fat, also known as adipose tissue, and the role each plays in your overall health.
The simple definition of body fat is the physical manifestation of stored energy, or extra calories that your body holds onto. White adipose tissue the fat you might see settled around your lower belly and hips, or any softer area where you tend to gain weight. White body fat actually has several essential functions: it insulates and protects the organs, regulates body temperature, and balances hormones. The concern of white fat is the excess of visceral fat, which wraps around the organs and is associated with health conditions such as obesity, metabolic dysfunction, heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and more. The good news is that white fat is easiest to burn off by exercising regularly and sticking to a clean, healthy diet, or maintaining a calorie deficit.
Brown fat’s appearance is due to its high content of mitochondria. Rather than storing energy, it generates it, producing heat and burning calories. A higher amount of brown adipose tissue will result in a leaner physique. Some ways you can naturally boost the production of brown fat is through regular exercise, getting quality sleep, and cold exposure. You can achieve cold exposure through cold showers, ice baths, or a cold plunge, and it doesn’t have to be longer than 5 minutes to receive benefits.
Beige fat contains more mitochondria than white, but less than brown. Like brown fat cells, they burn rather than store calories. Activating beige fat cells helps improve metabolism, which contributes to a leaner body composition and benefits your overall health. Exercise is the most effective method of increasing beige fat, specifically through high-intensity interval training. HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low intensity recovery periods. It is not only the most time-efficient way to exercise, but it is the best way to burn fat and boost metabolism.
DEXA Scan for Body Composition
A DEXA scan shows you the precise makeup of your body composition, including a body fat percentage. DEXA can detect the presence of visceral fat, an excess level of which can contribute to obesity and other health issues. Getting an exact reading on your body composition and body fat makeup can give you a better idea of your overall health. Search for a DEXA location near you, and schedule an appointment.