Two Types of Body Fat (and Why They’re Both Bad)

When looking at our midriff in the mirror, we tend to compare ourselves to others. We do this because we are quite horrible at determining our own health. We tend to follow the same social habits and mirror the images we see in others. This is not a justification but an explanation as to why people normalize their unhealthy size, particularly when overweight.

There are two types of body fat. Visceral fat, or brown fat, is the type that surrounds internal organs and is the denser of the two. Subcutaneous fat, or white fat, is the type of fat that literally hangs off of us. So how do you tell the difference?

MG Chiropractic on Types of Body Fat: Visceral FatVisceral fat is denser. Stereotypically speaking, think of a regular beer drinker with a solid belly that is not very squishy and sometimes gets rebranded as muscle. Since visceral fat tends to concentrate in the abdominal region, these people often do not have very strong or visible gluteal muscles. As a result, these people tend to develop almost crippling low back pain with each pound they continue to gain.

Subcutaneous fat is lighter. Stereotypically speaking, this is the type of fat that flaps and jiggles off of us. Be aware that most people will have both, and the differences are considerable.MG Chiropractic on Types of Body Fat: SubcutaneousFat

It is essential to understand the basic differences between the two, outside the aesthetics. Visceral fat literally chokes out the internal organs, forcing the body to work harder to keep those organs functioning. Organ failure and heart attacks are not uncommon. Subcutaneous fat, believe it or not, has hormone production to it. Adipose tissue (aka body fat) produces estrogen, which wreaks havoc in the fertility of women, and it produces a hormone in men that is usually seen just in women.

What does this have to do with chiropractic? Extra weight from fat instead of muscle is quite harmful on all joints in the body and is a big reason for debilitating arthritis. Chiropractic helps during the weight-loss transition, helping people move better so they can then lose the weight needed for a healthier future.


Dr. Mason M. Greenslade, DC, is the owner of MG Chiropractic, your Belltown and Queen Anne chiropractor. He is certified in the Advanced Activator technique, Chiro-Manipulative Reflex, and the Sacro-Occipital Technique. Dr. Greenslade has his doctorate from the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Learn more about Dr. Greenslade.

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