What is Subcutaneous Fat?

Understanding fat in general can help understand subcutaneous fat. Fats are of two types. One is brown fat and the other is white fat. Brown fat is usually found in infants. Brown fat helps keep infants warm by generating heat. Brown fats are mostly gone by the time people are adults. People get left with white fat when they are adults. White fat is of two different types. One is visceral fat and the other is subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is easily identifiable as it is stored underneath skin. On the other hand, visceral fat is stored deeper inside the body around the organs. Subcutaneous fat is of concern to appearance-conscious people. It is however, more desirable physiologically as it is less dangerous than visceral fat, which is linked with diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other health issues. Subcutaneous fat also releases harmful hormones at a much lower concentration and slower rate.                                       

When subcutaneous fat cells or adipose cells are small in number, they release a chemical known as adiponectin. Adiponectin is a kind of protein hormone. This hormone helps regulate blood sugar levels and fatty acid oxidation, which is known as process of burning fat. The higher the adiponectin concentration gets, the more fat gets burnt, leading to release of more adiponectin. Small number of subcutaneous fat cells is in favor of keeping fat cells smaller. Adiponectin is considered good hormone that keeps metabolism increased and burns more fat for warmth and energy. People have varying amount of subcutaneous fat. Number of fat cells is genetically determined. Number of fat cells does not necessarily make a person overweight. Activity level and calorie intake affect how much fat is stored in fat cells. Subcutaneous fat in thighs and buttocks is less harmful than subcutaneous belly fat.

Reducing Subcutaneous Belly Fat

Burning subcutaneous fat can help get benefits of adiponectin, healthier weight and better look. Exercise and diet are the safest and easiest ways to reduce overall fat mass including subcutaneous belly fat. Eating right can help lose subcutaneous belly fat. To lose fat or weight we need to consume fewer calories than we expend. Replacing starches and sugars with protein and high fiber foods can help lose subcutaneous belly fat. It is good to choose lean protein foods such as fish, nuts, eggs and skinless chicken. Increased consumption of vegetables and fruits is a good idea. Compared to other foods, vegetables and fruits are low in calorie and high in fiber. Fiber helps feel full for longer which reduces unnecessary consumption of food. Whole grains are high in fiber content and good for weight control. It is good to replace white bread and pasta with whole-wheat pasta and bread.

Foods sweetened with fructose and trans fats help increase belly fat, as stated by The Harvard School of Public Health. Trans fats are usually used in processed foods such as cookies, baked goods, crackers, margarine and fried foods. It is important to avoid consumption of trans fat. Fructose used as sweetener provides lots of calories and small amount of nutrients. Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup is linked with increase in obesity in United States. Added fructose is usually found in soft drinks, jam, barbecue sauce, ketch up etc. It’s also good to reduce consumption of saturated fats found in pork, beef, lamb and other processed foods such as hot dogs, sausage and lunch meats. It is good to consume healthy fats found in fatty fish, nuts and olive oil.

Exercising to Lose Subcutaneous Belly Fat

Strength-training exercise and aerobic exercise help burn calories and build or maintain muscle mass. It keeps metabolism at healthy rate. Exercises help lose subcutaneous belly fat and reduce risks for heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.

Reducing stress level is also important in losing subcutaneous belly fat as chronic stress can affect hormone levels and cause gain in belly fat. Having enough sleep, exercising, meditating and consulting professional can help reduce stress.

Waist Circumference

Measuring waist circumference can help assess risks of various health issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high triglyrides, increased risk of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It is of low risk for women when waist circumference is 27 to 35 inches. It is of high risk when waist circumference is 35.5 to 43 inches. It is of very high risk when waist circumference is above 43.5 inches. For men, it is of low risk when waist circumference is 31.5 to 39 inches. It is of high risk when waist circumference is 39.5 to 47 inches. It is of very high risk when waist circumference is above 47 inches.


It is useful to know about different types of fats including subcutaneous fat. Losing subcutaneous fat is not very difficult. Losing subcutaneous fat can help achieve good shape and more importantly can reduce risks of various health issues.

Last update: July 22, 2017 06:40:06 pm

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