What Color is Your Fat?


Should we start with the good news or the bad news? Well, the bad news is that the fat in your body comes in all shapes and colors. The good news: not all of it is so bad. Here is the lowdown on the rainbow of fat in your body right now and how you should handle it:

Brown Fat: “Favorite Fat”

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is the best kind of fat there is. When exposed to cold and dropping temperatures, it starts burning fat to be used as energy, much like the way muscle tissue would do. Most of us have approximately 2-3 ounces of the brown stuff in us; it is often located at the back of the neck.

Beige Fat: “Pretty Good”

This mix of brown and white fats has been shown to play an equally important role in weight control (in lab mice). Based on research, it has been found that exercise causes muscles to release a hormone which converts white fat into beige fat, a type that stores energy that would otherwise sit in your belly area as “bad fat.”

Subcutaneous White Fat: “Eh…”

White fat is the layer that you can actually feel, directly under the skin – or remove with liposuction, if that’s your thing. A study in 2004 concluded that after the surgical removal of subcutaneous fat in 15 obese women, they still showed no change in blood pressure, blood sugar, or cholesterol, even after three months. The conclusion: it might be visually unappealing, but white fat is not hurting you too much.

Visceral White Fat: “We hate this fat”

This brand of white fat lodges itself deep in human tissue, wrapping itself around vital organs and excreting toxins and acids which get transported in the bloodstream to the whole body. This fat is the culprit behind many illnesses, but can be effectively combated and reduced through diet and exercise.