January 22, 2023

Fat not equal to fat

The fat you eat in the form of vegetable oils, animal fat (eggs, dairy or meat) or fats from sources such nuts, olives and avocados is not the same fat that is found in the body. Your body will breakdown any food into the chemicals it is made of and use the chemicals as building blocks to make everything that the body needs. This way your body can take the protein, fat and carbohydrate contained in any food and turn it into lipids that are stored in fat stores across the body (called White Adipose Tissue). 

Your body’s fat stores, found between organs and just below the skin, is not inherently bad for you. In fact some of it plays a crucial role as an energy store for a rainy day and even to regulate the production of hormones and body temperature. The trouble begins when your fat stores A.K.A adipose tissue accounts for an increasingly high percentage of your total body mass. This number starts at 20-25 percent for men and 25-30 percent for women (DEXA scans, Calliper measures, hydrostatic weighing are ways to figure this out). 

As the number creeps up, your body has a harder time responding to insulin and becomes less effective at processing glucose. The body also has a hard time tapping into energy stored in adipose tissue as the amount of adipose tissue creeps up. 

Your joints don’t enjoy lugging the adipose around either. Unlike muscle, organs, bones and other connective tissue, adipose makes zero contribution to your locomotion or movement. Most studies suggest the more adipose tissue you carry, the more counter productive it is for your long term joint health with increased wear and tear, arthritic joints and compromised mobility.


* You can wind up packing on too much body fat by eating any food group. Your body does not care if it is a superfood, health food, protein shake or fried pakodas. Too much energy will be converted into adipose tissue that is counterproductive for long term health. 
* You need to carry tissue that actively utilises as much energy as possible. Since adults can’t grow their brain, liver, lungs or other organs that leaves us with muscle to grow and bones to densify.  
* Provide your body just enough energy to have to tap into its reserves. An overfed body has no use for its own reserves.
* Bump up your non-exercise (NEAT) activity levels. Staying active through the day trumps concentrated doses of activity and can help your body spend more energy than a less active person.

About Adarsh

- I run a strength and conditioning facility in Chennai, India
- I work with my clients to make training and eating for better body composition a part of everyday life
- I coach online and in-person
- I design and manufacture strength training equipment for use in our strength training facility