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What is Skinny Fat? Causes, Preventions, Health Risks & Remedies

What is Skinny Fat? Causes, Preventions, Health Risks & Remedies

1. What is Skinny Fat

What is Skinny Fat

“Skinny Fat” refers to the condition in which someone has more body fat (around the gut) and less muscle mass. Skinny fat is also termed as metabolically obese normal weight (MONW). The person with MONW seems to be slim and fit but has a high percentage of body fat. The body weight (BMI) of such persons is also the same as normal people.

Also Read: Why Do We Get Belly Fat? Reasons and Solutions

2. Types and Examples

How is it possible to have a normal weight while having high body fat? This term also confused me at first. However, we will discuss the effects and causes to get a clear picture.

Fat can be stored in the human body in three forms; essential fat, subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat. A healthy body fat level is crucial for proper body functioning. However, excess levels of fat in your body can lead to various disorders.

Essential fat is necessary for physiological body functioning like the heart functioning and cushions the vital body organs.

Subcutaneous fat lies just above the layer of your skin and protects your vital organs while maintaining the overall body temperature. The high amount of subcutaneous fat has a major role in gaining body weight.

Visceral fat also protects the internal organs by forming a protective layer around them. However, more than the required amount of visceral fat causes serious complications including heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and many others.

Types and Examples

3. How to Get Rid of Skinny Fat?

If you have skinny fat, it should be on top of your fitness goals to get rid of skinny fat. Now, you are wondering; How can you reduce skinny fat? You can lose skinny fat by maintaining a healthy diet routine. Diet plays an important role in body functions and composition. Skinny fat occurs due to surplus stored body calories. So, you can start addressing the problem by consuming fewer calories.

4. What Causes ‘Skinny Fat'?

People put too much emphasis on physical appearance rather than metabolic health. Body weight or BMI doesn't tell us everything. But most people believe that being thin and being healthy are interchangeable terms.

Essentially, the slim fat condition is caused by poor food and insufficient exercise routines. Sedentary jobs and habits of excessive eating without physical activity can cause the skinny fat issue. Office employees are especially at higher risk for developing skinny fat.

5. How Can Someone Fall Prey to Skinny Fat?

  • Consuming high calories food
  • Consuming less protein
  • Not doing proper exercise
  • Strength training without proper rest
  • Stress

6. How Does Skinny Fat Occur Due to Your Diet?

When you consume foods that are high in sugar, your blood sugar levels (glucose level) rise, and your hormones start to produce insulin to transport the sugar into muscle and fat cells.

Excessively high glucose levels can lead to insulin resistance and disrupt the required supply of insulin. In this condition body fat increases, particularly in the abdominal region.

7. Health Risks of Skinny Fat

People with skinny fat are at a high risk to develop various diseases like type 2 diabetes, hormonal diseases, cancer, and heart diseases. Let’s discuss the mechanism of how skinny fat becomes the cause of these diseases.

  • Type 2 Diabetes: One of the contributing factors in type 2 diabetes is TOFI ( Thin Outside & Fat Inside). TOFI is the condition in which an individual has a high proportion of abdominal fat but does not look overweight. In other words, a person with TOFI has a high proportion of visceral fat and low subcutaneous fat. The high amounts of visceral fat develop insulin resistance in the body which increases the level of blood glucose. This condition leads to type 2 diabetes.
  • Heart Diseases: Visceral fat protects the organ by making a protective layer around your heart, liver, and kidneys. This ensures a healthy and natural placement of organs. However, when too much fat accumulates around the heart and in arteries, it causes atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fat is accumulated in the lining of arteries that leads the blood toward the heart. It disturbs the flow of blood and in turn, leads to various heart diseases, hypertension, and in severe cases can cause heart failure.
  • Hormonal Abnormalities: Hormonal imbalance increases the amount of fat in the body. Low estrogen levels after menopause can increase the visceral fat around the abdominal cavity. This becomes the major contributor to skinny fat.
  • Cancer: Modern research shows that more body fat becomes a prevalent factor in developing many cancers.

8. 5 Everyday Tips to Get Rid of Skinny Fat

Here, we will enlist the 5 tips that can help you to reduce skinny fat.

  1. Eat a healthy breakfast every day. Breakfast helps in boosting your metabolism for the rest of the day. It also gives you the energy to start your day off right.
  2. Eat fruits and vegetables that are fewer calories. 
  3. Get some exercise. Exercise boosts your mood and helps in burning extra calories.
  4. Don't skip meals. Skipping meals can lead to overeating later in the day.
  5. Avoid sugary drinks. Sugary drinks can make you gain weight.

9. Prevention from Skinny Fat

You can prevent yourself from skinny fat by developing these healthy habits.

9.1. Eat More Protein

Eat more healthy protein to get rid of skinny fat. Although this sounds exciting, this practice would give you better results. You have to eat more food but in the right quantity at the right time and in the right amounts. Now we will discuss the right way to add proper nutrition to your routine.

Eating protein-rich food (eggs, fish, meat, & dairy products) will help you build muscle mass. More muscle mass helps you to burn calories at a higher rate. So eating more protein will help you burn more calories throughout the day. However, a fiber-rich diet helps you to increase metabolic health which in turn prevents you from skinny fat.

9.2. Drink More Water

According to studies, drinking plenty of water can increase lipolysis (the process by which fats break down). So, by drinking more water, you can reduce the fat tissue that becomes the source of skinny fat.

9.3. Muscle-Building Exercises

Another measure you can take to reduce skinny fat is by increasing muscle mass. Exercise is one of the primitive ways of muscle-building and reducing excessive fat. Because it stimulates the anabolic hormones that are a key factor to add muscle mass. Regular physical exercise will also help in burning calories and losing weight. You should aim to work out at least three times per week. However, HIIT (High-intensity interval training) improves the metabolic rate and helps to reduce the amount of visceral fat. This type of exercise can reduce body fat without affecting muscle mass. Apart from these, various weight-lifting exercises like push-ups and yoga also help you to get out of skinny fat.

9.4. Taking Healthy and Adequate Sleep

Poor sleep habits hinder muscle growth and promote skinny fat building. Muscle growth is an important aspect to get rid of skinny fat. Insufficient sleep might inhibit your body from putting on muscle, despite attempting to bulk up and eating more calories than you burn. So, to avoid skinny fat, make sure you get healthy, timely, and sound sleep.

9.5. Moderate Cardio Training

Cardio helps you to keep healthy and fit, but too much cardio might make you weak and because it prevents you from building muscle and strength. When combined with a low-calorie, low-protein diet, lots of cardio can stimulate faster muscle loss.

As a result, you should exercise moderate cardio to maintain a healthy and slim body, but not so much that it interferes with your weightlifting training.

10. FAQs

10.1. How to Cure Skinny Fatness?

You can reduce skinny fat through regular strengthening exercises. In addition, a  healthy diet that contains a proper proportion of calories and protein with exercise can contribute to reducing skinny fat. 

10.2. How Consuming High Calories Cause Skinny Fat?

Fat is an active tissue in our bodies. When we consume more calories, more fat cells develop and a sedentary routine and lack of physical activity cause skinny fat.

10.3. Can Fiber-Rich Foods Prevent You from Skinny Fat?

Eating fiber-rich food is the natural way to get rid of skinny fat. When you consume fiber-rich food, it reduces the absorption of sugar in your bloodstream. Less sugar level in the bloodstream means the production of less insulin. This will ultimately allow the body to store less fat.

10.4. Who is at a Higher Risk of Having Skinny Fat?

A person who does not have a healthy eating schedule lacks exercise and has a poor diet is at a high risk of developing skinny fat. Such persons have normal weight but are metabolically obese.

10.5. Is it Normal to have Skinny Fat?

No, having skinny fat can cause serious health problems including cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. So, you should take appropriate measures to address the skinny fat issue.

10.6. How Can Skinny Fat Cause Cancer? 

As fat cells increase in your body, they eventually outgrow their ability to get oxygen. Those fat cells can no longer serve as a reliable source of stored energy. As a result, they start to die. When fat cells die, our immune system starts to struggle to wash them out while unable to use them because of less physical activity. However, that fight between immune cells and dead fat cells produces pro-inflammatory molecules in the body that increase the risk of cancer.

11. Conclusion

Having a normal weight but a high body fat percentage is referred to as being "skinny fat," and it can increase your risk of developing diseases. High-calorie restriction can stimulate the loss of muscles, especially if you aren't exercising, which encourages the development of skinny fat.

This is why health professionals advise a moderate calorie deficit of 20 to 25% when trying to get rid of skinny fat. According to research, a high-protein diet, strength exercise, and controlled calorie deficit ensure quick fat loss while maintaining muscles. You can also improve your metabolic health by boosting your physical activity and eating fewer processed meals.

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