One of the measurements that we take during the BIA scan (see last post) is a measurement of Visceral Adipose Tissue, or VAT. This is measured in volume (Liters) rather than weight (kilograms or pounds). Never hear of VAT? I hadn’t, at least not as a measurement, until I started my new job.
Sit back, lemme try to ‘splain VAT to you.
There are two types of adipose tissue (fat) in our bodies. One is subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT), or the fat that we can ‘see’ on our bodies. It is generally squishy. The other is visceral adipose tissue (VAT), which is the evil twin. Lemme drop some knowledge bombs…
(SOURCE for this information. the article is FULL of references.)
- SCAT accumulation represents the normal place for excess energy intake (more calories IN than OUT). When the storage capacity of SCAT is exceeded, fat begins to accumulate as VAT.
- The main areas of SCAT deposition are the thighs and buttocks, back, and belly (beer gut/pouch/etc.). About 80% of all body fat is SCAT.
- VAT accounts for up to 10-20% of total fat in men, and 5-8% in women. The amount of VAT increase with age in both genders.
- Adipocytes constitute the main component of adipose tissue (SCAT and VAT) and are the chief storage depots of energy. As they grow larger, they become dysfunctional. VAT contains greater numbers of large adipocytes as compared to SCAT.
This next part scares me so much I’m just going to copy it right from the article:
“Adipocytes from VAT are more insulin-resistant than SCAT adipocytes. Smaller adipocytes tend to be more insulin-sensitive; large adipocytes become insulin-resistant. Amount of visceral fat is an important factor associated with variations in insulin sensitivity. … Insulin resistance may be one of the most important factors linking abdominal visceral adiposity to cardiovascular risk.”
The article goes on to paint a horrifying picture of VAT. So much, that it almost makes me want to go all Freddy Kruger and immediately remove my VAT.
JUST KIDDING!!!! you can’t really do that. What CAN you do? Eat better foods, exercise more. If you are concerned about your VAT, please talk with your PCP. Dexa scans and BIA machines are the best detectors of VAT. BIA machines can be found at better gyms (like KDR!) and fitness centers (NOT places like Planet Fitness. Don’t get me started….).
Next time we’ll talk about Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) or, as I like to call it, coma-calories.