We have two types of fat in our bodies: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is fat that resides under the skin, while visceral fat is located around our organs. Individuals who have large amounts of subcutaneous fat often have high levels of visceral fat. The amount of subcutaneous fat a person has will depend on both genetics and lifestyle choices like what they eat and how often they work out.

So, how do you rid your body of unwanted subcutaneous fat? This article is dedicated to the simple ways you can reduce the subcutaneous fat in your body.

Why Do We Have Subcutaneous Fat?

Before we dive into why we have subcutaneous fat—a quick lesson in the skin anatomy is in order. The top layer of the skin is the epidermis, the middle layer is the dermis, and subcutaneous fat is the deepest layer. Subcutaneous fat has five main functions including storing energy, padding to protect the body’s muscles and bones from impact, it serves as a passageway for both nerves and blood vessels between the skin and muscles, it helps regulate the body’s temperature by creating a layer of insulation, and it attaches the dermis to the muscles with its unique connective tissue.

What Causes Subcutaneous Fat?

While everyone is born with subcutaneous fat, genetics play a role in how much people have. In addition to genetics other circumstances like being sedentary, having little muscle mass, getting little aerobic activity, consuming more calories a day than burned, and individuals who are insulin resistant may all have higher ratios of subcutaneous fat.

Is Subcutaneous Fat Bad For You?

Subcutaneous fat plays a vital role in our body’s health. However, if the body is storing too much of it, it can put individuals at a higher risk for certain health conditions including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, strokes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

How Much Is Too Much Subcutaneous Fat?

If you don’t know how much subcutaneous fat and you want to know you can do so by measuring your body mass index (BMI), which provides an accurate account of your weight to height ratio. The normal weight range for BMI is from 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight BMIs range from 25 to 29.9 and individuals who are considered obese have BMIs that are 30 and higher.

Another method to determine if you have excess fat is to measure your waistline. The general consensus is that men who have waist sizes over 40 inches and women with waist sizes over 35 inches could have a higher rate of developing obesity-related diseases.

How To Get Rid Of Subcutaneous Fat

Now that you have a better understanding of what subcutaneous fat is, you may be wondering what the best ways to rid your body of this excess fat are. The two most frequently suggested ways to shed the unwanted fat is through regular exercise and following a balanced diet.

When it comes to diet the basic principle of reducing subcutaneous fat is to create a calorie deficit where fewer calories are consumed than what is burned by the body. If you are looking to make dietary changes, a balanced diet that is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and fruits are suggested by both the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. The diet should also contain lean proteins including fish, poultry, or soy in addition to minimizing sugar, salt, red meat, and saturated fats.

With regard to physical activity, since the body stores energy by building subcutaneous fat, one needs to burn energy, which are calories. Aerobic activity including running, walking, swimming, cycling, racquet sports, and other movement-based activities that increase the heart rate are suggested. Strength training is another option for exercise that helps reduce subcutaneous fat since it creates lean muscle, which can help boost the metabolism and increase the heart rate.

In addition to diet and exercise, there are now a variety of non-surgical, energy-based technologies that can assist with reducing subcutaneous fat on the body. If you want to learn more about these non-invasive technologies, you can read more about them in our white paper on non-surgical body contouring.

Bottom Line

Our bodies need subcutaneous fat. But like most things in life, too much can be a bad thing and in the case of subcutaneous fat, it can be bad for our health. If you suspect that you are not at the right level for your body, talk to your doctor about determining the right ratio for you and how you attain that with the appropriate diet and exercise plan for you.