Skinny Fat: Worse than Being Obese?

Visceral fat

You probably know people who eat terrible, don’t exercise and somehow still manage to be skinny. Research is begging to strengthen the idea of “skinny fat.” People who look skinny, but are metabolically obese: they suffer from high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, this is no rare phenomenon. A JAMA study found than 1 in 4 “healthy” BMIs are actually “skinny fat”.

The Dangers of Being Skinny Fat:

skinny fat diagramHow can a person be skinny and fat at the same time? As it turns out, there are two main types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the very visible fat that lies just beneath the skin. Visceral fat is located deep in your abdomen around your organs. In most people about 90% of fat is subcutaneous and 10% is visceral. However, a hallmark of the skinny fat is having a disproportionate amount of visceral fat. Unfortunately for the skinny fat, visceral fat is the worst kind. Studies have shown that visceral fat increases blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides, and lowers the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol to a greater degree than subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, asthma, breast cancer and colorectal cancer disproportionately.

Perhaps not surprisingly then, studies have shown that skinny fat people actually have a higher risk of death than their obese peers.

What to Do About It:

There are a number of ways for you to get rid of some of your body’s unwanted fat. For instance, one can opt for cryoslimming offered by firms like CallaGenics (which can be found by searching online for “cryoslimming near me in Wellington, FL”). It is a non-invasive procedure that can help in losing fat permanently. This treatment delivers cold directly to the skin, instead of using suction cups. In this way, body contouring and skin firming are achieved. Moreover, it uses science in conjunction with one’s body’s natural processes. Through the use of cryolipolysis, a freezing process that destroys fat storage cells, specialists can achieve amazing results in body slimming, skin tightening, and cellulite treatment.

talking about cryolipolysis treatment, it is actually considered by many for fat removal. ICE AESTHETIC are an organization that offers cryolipolysis treatment, and you may want to give them a look should you be interested in losing some unwanted fat. Fortunately, you can also quickly lose visceral fat through diet and exercise. One study had participants exercise between 15 and 20 hours a week. One group lifted at 70% of their max and ran at 30% of their max heart rate (Re). Another group lifted at 30% of their max and ran at 70% of their max heart rate (rE). The final group lifted and ran at 30% of their max (re). The researchers found that all groups lost visceral fat, but the groups that included higher intensity running or lifting experienced more visceral fat loss. See below:

skinny fat chart

So, this study shows that both cardio and strength training is beneficial and that higher intensities appear to work better. Another study found that a high volume exercise program (jogging 20 miles per week) reduced visceral fat more than a low volume program (jogging 12 miles a week). Another study had participants either do 4 bouts of 4 minutes of sprinting at 85% to 95% of max heart rate or run for 33 minutes at 60% to 70% of max heart rate. The researchers found that total body fat loss was similar in both groups, but only the high intensity group lost a significant amount of visceral fat.

In terms of diet, a study found that drinking a liter a day of cola for 6 months, led to 24% greater visceral fat than drinking a liter a day of water. Another study found that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat reduced visceral fat.

Visceral fat has also been associated with stress and sleep loss.


Even if you’re skinny, you could still be metabolically obese so it would be advisable for you to find a skinny fat workout that works for you. A clear indicator of being “skinny fat” is having extra fat around your waist line. If this sounds like you, exercise at a high volume and intensity, avoid sugar, saturated fat, stress and be sure to get enough sleep. Some people are healthy, yet look overweight which can be frustrating for them. Although, many people have seen amazing results as a consequence of liposuction treatment. This may be worth considering for people struggling to reach their dream body despite their best efforts.

Either way, these studies show the importance of living a healthy lifestyle no matter what the scale reads!


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