When we were toddlers, we were told that little girls were made of “sugar and spice, and everything nice,” and little boys were composed of “frogs and snails, and puppy dog’s tails.” Although the old nursery rhyme was cute, it’s definitely not what we’re made of as adults.
Our bodies are made of millions of cells, each doing their job to keep the “machine” going strong. When we look at body composition, we can identify various types of those cells – mainly bone, muscle, and fat. All three of these cell types are very important. The bones keep us standing up, the muscles help move the bones and the fat provides some of the energy we need to stay alive.
But too much fat can be very harmful to our bodies, causing excess weight that makes our joints ache as we age, and a toxic environment that harms our organs and predisposes us to chronic diseases. In other words, too much fat is not good for anyone.
We know that getting healthy (and staying healthy) is HARD work. Probably the hardest thing is losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Anyone trying to lose weight knows it’s all about burning off the unhealthy excess fat. We now have the capabilities with the DEXA Scan to learn just where your body is storing fat to help you streamline your food and exercise plans to target these specific areas.
So let’s look at the types of fat to know where you need to direct your focus.
Android fat storage describes the distribution of fat mostly around the trunk/abdomen area (referred to as ‘central’ fat storage) or the upper body. Due to this type of distribution, those exhibiting excess android fat patterns will portray an ‘apple’ shaped appearance where the waist is much larger than the hips. This type of fat storage is typical in males – often referred to as a spare tire, a beer belly, or potbelly.
A gynoid fat pattern is characterized by the accumulation of excess fat around the hip, buttocks and thigh regions. Due to this type of distribution, excess gynoid fat patterns will have a ‘pear’ shaped appearance where the buttocks and hips are much larger than the waist. This type of distribution is typical in females. Gynoid fat is generally stored ‘subcutaneously’ which means that fat stores on the surface of the body, just under the skin and above the muscle.
Whether you are an “apple” or a “pear” – you need to make sure you are trying to rid your body of excess visceral fat – the type of body fat that’s stored in the abdomen. It’s located near several vital organs, including the liver, stomach, and intestines. It can also build up in the arteries.
Carrying excess visceral fat increases your risk for developing several serious long-term, life-threatening medical conditions. These include:
- heart attacks and heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- breast cancer
- colorectal cancer
- Alzheimer’s disease
Discovering exactly how much of your body mass is made up of fat—and where that fat is stored on your body—is a very important part of your exercise and health plan. By getting a DEXA Scan, you can determine just how much fat is in your body, determining how much is visceral and help you pinpoint exercises to reduce your visceral fat – preventing many diseases that millions of people are suffering from every day.