Our Charleston, SC, Body Sculpting Team Breaks Down Body Fat Types
While many of us struggle to combat a protruding belly or double chin, isolated areas of unwanted fat do not necessarily mean a person is overweight or obese. Fat can be a cosmetic issue, health issue, or both. Learn the basics of body fat classifications here.
CoolSculpting® is strictly a cosmetic treatment and will not result in noticeable weight loss. In fact, the best candidates for almost any aesthetic body sculpting procedure tend to be those who are within a normal, healthy weight range who simply have localized areas of fat that aren’t responding to diet or exercise. This is especially true when it comes to losing belly fat – below, we explain why.
In addition to the information below, our body sculpting specialists offer personalized body consultations to assess which fat treatments may be appropriate for you. Request a consultation online or by phone at 843-881-4440 to learn more about body fat classifications and how they might impact your CoolSculpting® treatments.
Subcutaneous vs. Visceral Fat
The broadest form of body fat classification is the categorization of visceral and subcutaneous fat. A “normal” amount of visceral fat is only about 10 percent of our total body fat. Subcutaneous fat makes up the remaining 90 percent.
Visceral fat is often referred to as “deep” or “intra-abdominal” fat, as it is the type that envelops the internal organs. If you have a bulging belly or large midsection overall, it is very likely due to excess visceral fat, which is associated with a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and even dementia. Even if you are not overweight or obese, having high amounts of visceral fat at a normal body weight can put you at risk.
Subcutaneous fat refers to the fat deposits that are found directly under the skin. This is the type of fat that physicians sometimes measure using skin-fold calipers to estimate your body fat percentage or BFP (i.e. the proportion of body mass that is strictly fat, not muscle or bone). While subcutaneous fat is not necessarily healthy, it is much less dangerous than visceral fat.
We emphasize that CoolSculpting® is not a treatment to improve health, as visceral fat is too deep below the muscle to be targeted by the cold. It can only treat subcutaneous fat in individuals with a BMI of 30 or less (the World Health Organization currently categorizes a BMI greater than 30 as obese).
CoolSculpting® is FDA-cleared to treat subcutaneous fat in the abdomen, thighs, flanks or love handles, upper arms, back (including bra fat), and under the chin and directly under the buttocks (the latter sometimes being referred to as “banana rolls”).
How to Lose Belly Fat
Abdominal or belly fat can be comprised of both visceral and subcutaneous fat. If you have a protruding stomach and are considering CoolSculpting® to reduce it, it is especially important to consult someone who is knowledgeable about body fat classification and treatment, such as one of our CoolSculpting® providers.
Luckily, visceral fat — the more dangerous type of fat — can be reduced by:
- maintaining a well-balanced diet free from trans fats,
- exercising regularly, and
- getting quality sleep
Subcutaneous fat is more difficult to reduce with lifestyle changes, and this is where CoolSculpting® excels. If you are at a healthy weight and already practice appropriate diet and exercise habits, CoolSculpting® will give you the best possible results.