Healthy Byte: Get to Know Your Fats

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ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE

Over the last few years we’ve changed our attitude on one major food group in particular: fat. Fat is no longer the main enemy to a healthy body and mind (that’s sugar, in case you hadn’t guessed!).

But not all fat is created equal. Eating good fats is great, having a healthy balance of body fat is too (especially for women) but there’s no getting around it – some fats are still bad for us, and putting on too much of the wrong type of body fat can play havoc with our health.

We asked itsu’s collaborating nutritionist, Alix Woods, what different types of fat our body has, which are healthy and which we could stand to lose.

THE FACTS

“We have four main types fat in our bodies,” explains Alix. “Each has its own molecular structure and health implication, so knowing which is which and what they do can help us manage our health better.”

Alix compares body fat to an organ, like the heart, lungs and skin. “It stores energy and manages hormones, especially metabolism, meaning that the types of body fat you already have affect how much more you store, and where.”

Alix goes on to lay out the main types: brown, beige, white subcutaneous and white visceral fat.

“In general, darker fats are the ‘good kind’, while light, or ‘white’ fats are what accumulate in the body when your diet and lifestyle aren’t right for you, and cause longer term health issues.”

1. Brown fat

This is the ‘good’ fat which provides cellular energy. It actually feeds on droplets from the white fat, so helps keep your weight down.

Brown fat, also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT), is responsible for our core temperature and is found in the back of the neck and chest areas.

As well as being a ‘fat burning’ fat, it may also help keep diabetes away.

The good news is that we can increase the healthy brown fat by eating healthily, taking the right supplements and making lifestyle changes. And other elements, such as being exposed to cold temperatures stimulates the transformation of white fat to brown fat.

2. Beige fat

This is a combination of white and brown fat and is found along the spine and collarbone.

With exercise, the hormone, irisin is released, which converts white fat to beige fat. Certain foods, in particular grapes, can also help with this ‘browning’ process.

3. White subcutaneous fat

This stores calories and produces adiponectin, another hormone, which helps the liver and muscles to manage insulin. (Insulin is the glucose or sugar-controlling hormone that’s super important for our energy levels.) It keeps blood sugar stable and keeps white fat stores in check.

A problem arises when there is so much of this white fat (and subsequently adiponectin secretion) that the metabolism slows down. When this happens, we start to gain excess weight – especially around the hip, thigh and tummy area – which is often the most difficult to lose.

4. Subcutaneous fat (SF)

This is just under the skin, and is the fat that’s measured to determine body fat percentage. It’s found all over the body, but particularly on the back of arms, thighs and bums.

You want to avoid excess SF around the belly to prevent long term health risks like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

This fat also produces oestrogen hormones in both sexes, and if there is excess oestrogen it becomes the dominant hormone, causing toxic weight gain that increases the risk of obesity, CVD disease, diabetes and cancer.

5. Visceral fat

This is the more ‘dangerous’ deep fat found around abdominal organs. It may feature as a ‘big belly’, or more seriously as an enlarged liver – caused by the blood draining from the visceral fat around the organs, getting dumped there.

This causes an increase in overall blood cholesterol, along with inflammatory chemicals that may lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

This is why abdominal fat – fat around your middle – is a worrying sight of excess visceral fat in your body. However, in healthy proportions, it’s an essential fat for overall health, to cushion and protect our organs and help keep our core temperature stable.

SO HOW DO WE LOSE THE BAD FAT?

“The life threatening, unhealthy ‘deep’ organ or visceral fat (such as belly fat) is lost first when you go on a diet that reduces your calories to below your daily requirement and your body starts to make energy from the fat it has stored,” Alix explains.

“SF is more challenging to lose, and in excess it may be seen as unattractive. The body keeps it in reserve in case of any emergencies, like starvation or for recovery. It’s an ancient, evolutionary tactic, but of course in our modern lives this rarely, if ever, happens.

“Good bouts of exercise and staying on a diet will eventually lead to fat loss in all areas of the body,” the nutritionist advises. “This is because the body senses the reduction in calories and moves the fat around for energy, which encourages overall weight loss.”

Alix also notes that “a general rule with weight loss is the less weight you have around your tummy, the sooner the more stubborn subcutaneous fat stores will ‘melt’ away. So seeing a reduction in that area is the first step.”

ALPHA AND BETA

“As well as types of fat storage, the body also has two fat receptors – Alpha and Beta,” the nutritionist explains. “They work in opposition to each other as Alpha receptors decrease fat burning and blood flow while Beta receptors increase the body’s ability to burn fat and increases blood flow through fat cells. The ratio of these in your body will determine how easy or hard it is for you to lose weight – meaning it’s a totally different process for everyone.

“The more Alpha receptors, the more challenging it is to burn fat and the reverse for Beta receptors,” Alix adds.

The bad news is the amount of receptors is determined at birth and research has found that people with Alpha fat receptors find it difficult to lose weight. “The only solution to this is to maintain healthy diet and exercise regularly,” the expert notes.

HOW TO EAT TO SHIFT YOUR BAD FAT

“Regardless of the location of fat, there are a few good habits to get into to keep your Beta weight-busting receptors ‘on’ and lose the bad fat your body doesn’t need,” says Alix. These are:

1. Eating whole grains and lean proteins, especially lower Glycemic Index fruits and vegetables. I may at times avoid fruit altogether to keep all sugars as low as possible (but make sure you’re getting plenty of veggies for your vitamin and mineral needs.)

2. Removing all white refined carbohydrates and replace with complex whole ‘browner’ grains.

3. Doing a 30-45 minute work out, three time per week.

4. Eating little and often. Have smaller protein-packed snacks, totalling 5-6 little, regular meals a day.

5. Doing two sessions of resistance (weight) training on your off workout days.

6. And an extreme option, when not exercising intensely is doing a detox. On these days drink lots of water and herbal teas and feast on steamed vegetables.

Healthy Byte: Side Effect of Massive Weight Loss

simone weight loss

Simone Pretscherer  – Read about her amazing story HERE

You did it. You logged the woman-hours at the gym and stocked your fridge with enough kale and Greek yogurt to slenderize an elephant. Or maybe you went under the knife and are now putting in major effort to maintain. Regardless, the numbers on the scale are at super-satisfying lows. There’s just one teensy, tiny (ahem, giant, looming) issue: Your skin didn’t get the “I’ve got a new body now” memo.

Kelly Coffey’s skin sure didn’t. Coffey, a personal trainer, wound up with some serious excess after losing 170 pounds from gastric bypass surgery. “It happened very quickly; I was sort of shocked at how much there was,” she says.

For her own body, Coffey went the tummy-tuck route for extra skin around her midsection and amped up her weight-lifting routine for her arms, legs, and back. (Looking for a total-body toning workout that will fit into your busy schedule? How does 10 minutes a day sound? Try Prevention’s Fit in 10 DVD today!) But which route is right for you? Here are 5 ways to deal with loose skin—surgical and not—after a serious drop in pounds.

Embrace the Weights

(Photo: Getty Images)

Sadly, gaining muscle isn’t going to actually remove any extra skin. But toning up could help you appear more taut after weight loss. The heavier the weights you lift, the better, suggests Coffey. (Here are 10 of the best strength-training moves for women over 50.) “Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights; it takes a lot less time to achieve the same degree of muscle with heavier weights, and the quicker I built muscle, the faster I toned up,” says Coffey. To make sure you’re doing it correctly and safely, enlist a professional’s guidance when you’re first starting out.

Update Your Support System

(Photo: Getty Images)

Don’t worry; we don’t want you to get new friends. (Unless they’re totally toxic—butthat’s another story.) A great bra and panties can go a long way, suggests Claudine DeSola, a stylist at Caravan Stylist Studios in New York. “Good intimates are a great way of helping conceal excess skin in the belly area,” says DeSola. Opt for bras with front closures and thicker bands, which give a cleaner, smoother look to your back. Trade in your bikini-cut panties for some high-cut briefs while you’re at it, and don’t shy away from Spanx—they’ll make everything feel a bit more secure, says DeSola. (Thanks, Tina Fey, for showing we don’t have to be ashamed to enlist a little Lycra every now and then.)

Come Out of Hiding
Don’t you want to congratulate yourself with an updated wardrobe? Have fun with form-fitting layers, suggests DeSola. “A slightly fitted tee with a sweater on top and a thick belt is a great way to cinch your waist,” says DeSola. Mid-rise jeans are another great option—ones that hit right below the belly button are the sweet spot for a perfect fit. Looking for something a bit more fun? Try a wrap dress in a bold color like red. It should hit at (or just below) the knee, and pairing it with heels will make your legs look longer and leaner.

Ditch the Negativity

(Photo: Getty Images)

Fact: Losing a ton of weight won’t automatically reserve you a spot on the Victoria’s Secret runway (and let’s be real—would you want to perpetuate that skinny ideal anyway?). “When we lose weight, we’re not headed toward a different body; we’re headed toward a smaller body,” Coffey says. Instead of hating on that extra skin, wear it as a badge of honor—you made a commitment to living a healthier, more active life, and loose skin is just proof that you did what so many other people have trouble doing. “Excess skin isn’t the terrible tragedy that so many of us think it will be; it’s just another one of the details about your body that makes you you,” says Coffey. It’s a symbol of your journey—and that’s something to be proud of.

Make Like a Snake
When it comes to excess skin after weight loss, the hard, cold truth is that going under the knife is the only surefire way to totally get rid of it. And if you’ve tried everything else and still aren’t even remotely satisfied with your appearance (or if your extra skin is getting irritated), it’s probably time to talk with a plastic surgeon about your options. Extra stuff around the midsection can be removed through an abdominoplasty—also known as a tummy tuck—according to Raul Rosenthal, MD, president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “Because the skin has stretched over so many years, it’s very difficult for that skin to go back to where it was before; it will not return to its natural consistency or elasticity,” says Rosenthal. According to him, patients who undergo plastic surgery following extreme weight loss not only experience a better quality of life, but they’re also more likely to keep the weight off. One last note: Before you choose to shed your skin for good, make sure you talk to your insurance provider, as most don’t cover such procedures.

Originally Posted HERE

PERSONAL NOTE: Like many things there are very different school of thoughts in regards to weight loss & excess skin. Some believe that the rate of weight loss maybe the culprit to excess skin (HERE). Others believe that perhaps the ‘excess skin’ is not excess skin at all but body fat because they lost more muscle than fat during weight loss phase (HERE). Yet, there are those who believe that the human skin elasticity has a definitive limit and the rate of weight loss has very little bearing (HERE). Regardless which camp one may believe in, I think there is some truth to all the schools of thought and we just have to decide which makes more sense to us individually based on how overweight we were, age, and method of weight loss (ie. crash diet, heavy cardio, surgery etc).

For me personally, I lost a total of 39 lbs over 18 months give or take. When I reached my first goal weight within 8 months doing strictly long stretches of cardio, I had a fair amount of ‘excess skin’ in the abdomen area. I reached my second goal within the following year and started to dial down the cardio and incorporated strength training. My weight have relatively remained with 1-2 lbs for the last 2 yrs but my ‘excess skin’ has dissipated significantly and overall I look ‘thinner.’ After reading the various school of thought (above) I do see some validity to perhaps that some of the 39 lbs I lost included a fair amount of muscle. Since I really didn’t get serious about strength training to tone & define until within the last 18 mths or so, the theory that building muscle helps ‘fill in’ to make the skin look more taut is very plausible in my case. Again, this is just my own personal thought based on my own experience and it can be very different for someone else.

“A big part of tightening loose skin is building muscle. The reason for this is simple.

There are two layers of tissue underneath your skin: fat and muscle, both of which press up against your skin and keep it from sagging loosely.

When you gain a large amount of weight, your skin must expand quite a bit to accommodate the increase in body size. When you lose the fat, however, and especially when you lose it quickly, your skin doesn’t necessarily shrink at the same rate as your fat cells. This imbalance can lead to loose skin.

Furthermore, many people use various forms of starvation dieting as well as large amounts of cardio to lose fat, which also causes significant muscle loss, further expanding the void between the skin and the underlying tissue.

The end result is a reduced body fat percentage but a small, soft physique with sagging skin. The “skinny fat” look, as it’s called.

Building muscle is the solution to all these woes because it literally fills in the looseness in the skin, creating a visibly tighter, healthier look.”

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Healthy Byte: Body Fat Whispering to the Brain … And it’s Not Good

2015 9-11

The concept of stress eating is nothing new: When you’re frazzled, you’re more likely to reach for a pint of ice cream instead of an apple.

But scientists have discovered that there’s more at play than just nerves. New research published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology found that your body fat sends signals to your brain that affect the way it deals with metabolism and stress — and that may even influence how much stress eating you do.

Researchers found that a glucocorticoid receptor (which regulates genes controlling your body’s stress response, among other things) in fat tissue directs the brain to regulate its energy balance, helping to cope with stress.

So, essentially, your body fat is talking to your brain about how stressed you are. That could have a big impact on your body.

Here’s why: Those signals regulate the part of your neuroendocrine system that controls your reaction to stress, as well as many of your body’s other functions, including digestion, mood, sexuality, energy storage, and your immune system. As a result, your body fat can affect you in many important ways, including your response to stress.

Study co-author James Herman, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati, tells Yahoo Health that it’s possible that excess body fat can mess with that stress signaling, causing you to eat more.

It can be a vicious cycle, too. Herman notes that weight gain can give people a negative body image, which is a psychological stressor. And when extra body fat and stress are combined, your body may feel even more stressed out — and once again return to stress eating.

Herman says that more research is needed before scientists know exactly how this signaling process works, but he points out that the new research shows that stress isn’t just in our heads: “These findings tell us that stress is a whole-body problem.”

Unfortunately, researchers aren’t sure if losing weight can break the cycle. “Fat cells expand and shrink, and stress hormones are part of the expansion process,” Herman explains. But it isn’t yet clear if your stress hormones reduce as you lose weight.

While stress eating can lead to weight gain and obesity, it has a useful role — at least, historically speaking. “From the evolutionary perspective, the stress response is designed to increase energetic resources to meet or anticipate a physiological challenge,” says Herman.

When our brains get the message that we’re stressed, it views it as an emergency and signals the body that we need more food to cope with the stress.

But since most of our modern-day stressors are more in the realm of work deadlines and less for hunting woolly mammoths, we’re often not using that extra food from stress eating. As a result, we end up gaining weight and feeling even more stressed out.

Herman acknowledges that stress eating is an issue for a lot of people, and says awareness of this fat-brain communication could help. But he says the key to beating stress eating (and subsequent weight gain) is just to reduce your overall stress levels.

Did you hear that, fat cells?

Originally Posted HERE

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