Skinny Fat and Your Health – Does Skinny Mean Healthy?
Things are not always what they appear…
…I’ve heard this adage for a long time. I hear this a lot about social media, particularly Instagram. What you see might not be the whole truth, and it can even be a complete deception.
In this instance, it means something else entirely.
Is “skinny” always healthy?
We all strive to be lean and fit. We feel like someone who is thin is always healthy, and every now and then, some envy might even creep up in the back of your mind.
We have been taught to think of slender people as healthy. But this is not always true.
You probably know someone who is “skinny fat”; they don’t eat particularly healthy, lack of greens, lots of red meat, a sedentary lifestyle, but…not “fat.”
A lot of times, we envy these people. But the dirty little secret is they may be more unhealthy than someone that is overweight.
What does it mean to be Skinny Fat?
Skinny fat people are people who have a normal to a healthy weight but still suffer from weight-related problems. Such as heart disease, diabetes, etc…
It’s been widely thought of it’s better to be skinny than overweight. However due to new studies one might argue that it is better to be obese and active, than to be skinny and not active because while these people don’t count calories, they build fat, and more fat, and more fat. Until they have major health problems.
In 2013 the American Journal of Cardiology did a study which found:
Older adults with normal BMIs (widely known to be an imperfect measurement) but high levels of body fat are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and death than previously realized. (1)
In 2012 there was an incredible study done about being fat and healthy.
It sounds like a crazy thing, but the important part is being metabolically healthy. The study found that obese people who were overweight and had.
How is it possible to be skinny and fat?
There are two main types of body fat:
Subcutaneous fat forms above the muscles, and is highly visible. The average overweight person shows a significant amount of Subcutaneous fat, which makes all of their measurements larger. Waist, neck, arms, etc.
Visceral fat is the fat that builds up inside your abdomen around your organs. In other words, visceral fat builds up under your muscles.
Visceral fat is what makes a person “skinny fat.” Skinny fat people do not build up much subcutaneous, but visceral fat continues to build up inside the body.
From a health perspective, visceral fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous, while subcutaneous is considered more of a problem. (2)
In 2014 a report on people with normal BMI but high body fat (skinny fat) found that these people have a significantly higher risk of metabolic problems and death from these diseases than any other group. (3)
Pretty freaky stuff…
Can you be Obese and Healthy?
There was an incredible study done about being fat and healthy.
It sounds like a crazy thing, but the important part is being metabolically healthy. The study found that obese people who were overweight and exercised were NOT found to be at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, etc…
The researchers examined data on 43,265 participants enrolled in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study between 1979 and 2003, who filled out questionnaires about their lifestyle and medical history and also underwent physical exams, blood tests and a treadmill test to gauge their cardiovascular fitness. The researchers categorized obese participants as “metabolically healthy” if, aside from their weight, they didn’t suffer from insulin resistance, diabetes, low levels of good cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood pressure. Nearly half of the obese participants in the study qualified as metabolically fit. (4)
With the results of the study, most people were really focused on the people who were obese but not metabolically sick due to high fitness levels. This is likely because it goes against common knowledge – but is logical.
However, I believe the main take away was that there were plenty of people with a healthy BMI (below 25) but were unfit and at a high risk of diseases.
How do you get to be skinny fat?
Gaining visceral fat is from when you eat processed and sugary foods.
Visceral fat seems to be the type that actually causes health issues. Visibly overweight people obviously tend to have a lot of visceral fat as well, which is the reason for their health problems.
But some people just don’t build up fat on the outside. This can actually put their health at more of a risk since they don’t see any issues they assume everything is “ok”.
I mean, if you look healthy why go in for check ups? It’s this thinking that gets people into problems.
Visceral fat causes you to become “metabolically sick” or metabolic syndrome.
How to Cure Skinny Fat
Just because you may be skinny does not mean you are healthy. The best thing you can do is to develop a healthy lifestyle.
It’s not super complicated, you should:
- aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise most days
- eat plenty of vegetables (my favorite are bell peppers drizzled in olive oil on the stove and asparagus with garlic!)
- cut out processed foods and high sugar foods (this includes “low fat because low fat turns into sugar in your body)
It seems that good health really boils down to **ONE THING** (if you had to just put one thing),
which is exercise. All kinds of exercise. Living an active lifestyle seems to keep yourself healthy, regardless of weight.
This makes a lot of sense after researching it because some people put on weight super quickly, and some people cannot gain weight, period.
However, if you have a skinny fat person who never exercises versus an obese person who runs 50 miles a week and does other activities. You will find that the overweight person is more metabolically healthy than the skinny person, and this would mean the skinny person is actually at a much higher risk of chronic illness.
Other than exercising, eating healthy is probably the single best investment you can ever make in your life. You are likely to get more time on this planet, and lower health costs throughout your life. There is nothing better you can do for yourself (or family) than eat healthily and exercise consistently.
It takes a sincere effort. Live intentionally. For you.
Stay healthy! I would love it if you guys sent me how you stay active!