The body mass index (BMI) is a basic metric for determining a person’s weight. However, its accuracy is frequently questioned because it does not distinguish between fat and muscle and does not reveal where body fat is deposited.
Being overweight or obese has long been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, some malignancies, kidney illness, and neurological diseases. People who carry their excess weight around their middles, i.e., those who are apple-shaped rather than pear-shaped, have a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, as has long been known.
The reason for this is the type of fat tissue that we tend to accumulate in specific parts of our bodies. Our physiology is influenced by body fat, often known as adipose tissue. Its primary function is to accept glucose from the bloodstream and safely store it as a lipid in our fat cells, which our bodies can then use as fuel. Our fat cells also secrete hormones that regulate a variety of bodily functions, including appetite. As a result, adipose tissue is critical for proper metabolic health.
However, having too little adipose tissue can damage the body’s ability to manage blood sugar levels. Insulin keeps blood sugar levels in check by instructing fat cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream and store it for later use.
Although fat is necessary for ideal metabolic function, where we store it has a variety of health implications. According to research, people of the same height and weight who store fat in different regions have varied chances of getting metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Where fat is stored in our bodies has an impact on our body form. People who are “apple-shaped” store more fat around their waist and are more prone to accumulate visceral fat lower in the body surrounding their organs. People that are “pear-shaped” have larger thighs and store more fat as subcutaneous fat more uniformly across their bodies.
In comparison to hip and thigh fat, body fat around the waist releases more blood triglycerides in response to stress hormone signals. High triglyceride levels in the blood are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. This is one of the reasons why visceral fat is considered to be more dangerous than subcutaneous fat.
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