In fact, 40 percent of people who are “normal” weight — or skinny even — are not only obese, they’re dangerously obese!
Despite what we’ve been told, obesity is NOT a weight issue it’s a health issue, and it’s a much greater problem than the “obesity-statistics” suggest.
We tend to think that fat is fat, but that’s not so. There’s “good” fat and “bad” fat, and a basic understanding of these two fats — and the cure for the bad kind — can be critical to our long-term health. (1, 2)
We all have fat; in fact, it’s essential to life. Lean adults may have around 40 billion fat cells. In comparison, “so-called” overweight adults may have 80 to 120 billion fat cells, but here’s the thing — it’s not the “amount” of fat that makes the difference between being healthy and unhealthy; it’s the type of fat and where it’s distributed. (3, 4)
The “good” type of fat — known as subcutaneous fat — is found just beneath the skin, while the “bad” fat — visceral fat — is located around abdominal organs.
Subcutaneous fats have a high level of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase, which causes them to store fat and hold on to it more tightly. This means that the fat stays in the fat cells, which is believed to affect health positively.
As a society we’re condemning our children to a lifetime of obesity. Is that acceptable?
A disease formerly known as Adult-Onset Diabetes had to be re-named Type 2 diabetes because it is now common in children. Children as young as 4 and 5-years-old are being diagnosed with fatty liver disease. Is that acceptable?
Visceral fat lies deep inside your abdomen and is more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat in storing and releasing inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream where it can infiltrate the liver and streak through your muscles to clog arteries and strangle your heart. Visceral fat can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, cancer and more … much more! (5, 6, 7)
Are You a TOFI Person?
Professor Jimmy Bell, head of the molecular imaging group at the Medical Research Council’s Centre at Imperial College, has spent years studying how human beings store and use their adipose tissue (fat). He has carried out studies showing that people considered slim can have large quantities of fat. As Bell noted;
We’ve scanned underweight people and found up to seven litres of fat inside them. Someone who appears thin on the outside yet doesn’t exercise may be at risk of a host of health problems because their fat is stored on the inside and in the organs. This is particularly true for men who have a slim build but do little or no exercise. We know now that 40 percent of people have fat infiltration of the liver, which is linked to so many other health problems. (2)
Thanks to the latest MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques, we can understand why appearances can be so deceiving and why so many people can be described as a ‘TOFI’ — Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside.
Although the only way to know for sure if fat is encapsulating your vital organs is to get lab tests and MRI scans, a quick way to guesstimate if you are TOFI is to measure your waist to hip ratio (WHR). Ideally, you want your waist to be smaller than your hips. Signs of abdominal obesity; your WHR is greater than or equal to 0.9 for a man and greater than or equal to 0.85 for a woman.
When It Comes to Fat, Don’t Always Believe What You See!
Both the public and the medical community often get sidetracked by BMI, a method of measuring fat developed 150 years ago in Belgium. BMI is calculated under the metric system by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing it by your height in metres squared.
The problem with BMI is that it really doesn’t work individually. For example, studies have found that, for the most part, professional athletes such as 350-pound football players or 500-pound Sumo wrestlers are perfectly healthy because they have surprisingly low levels of visceral fat.
Sumo wrestlers have been put through MRI scanners, and even though they have a BMI of 56 and are eating up to 5,000 calories a day, they have very little internal fat.
These people are “fit,” which means they generally have low cholesterol, low triglycerides, and low insulin resistance. Their fat is predominantly subcutaneous — the fat stored under the skin on the outside.
Your body shape “can” be a telltale sign of the type of fat your body stores. If you have an “apple” shaped body — fat around your belly rather than below your waist — you’re more likely to have a higher level of visceral body fat. If instead, you have a “pear” shaped body — your fat tends to gather on your thighs and hips — you’re more likely to get benefits from your fat. (8)
Be Skeptical When Reading Media Headlines
Unfortunately, the media has misinterpreted many epidemiological studies on health and fitness. They tend to make broad — and erroneous — conclusions about fat and its effect on our health without making the critical distinction between types of fat. Even worse, some studies were based on the sketchy measuring stick of BMI. From that basis, we could easily (but wrongly) conclude that “overweight” people were unfit and unhealthy. In contrast, thin people were generally fit and healthy.
The REAL definition of Obesity
The actual definition of obesity is this: Having excess fat that presents a risk to health.
Note, it does not say excess weight that presents a risk to health, it says excess fat that presents a risk to health. Since BMI is our standard and misguided definition of obesity, our true global obesity epidemic is a much greater problem than we realize.
The first way to manipulate the way your body stores fat is diet; reduce the consumption of ultra-processed foods to as close to zero as possible. The second way is to get sufficient exercise.
But then again, I suspect you already knew that.