I think we all have that one friend who eats and eats and then eats some more and NEVER puts on weight. Pizza after pizza washed down with a litre of sugary drinks and followed by a tub of ice cream. Sound familiar? Yeah, thought so.
Skinny fat is actually known as ‘normal weight obesity’ whereby a person may fall into a normal weight category based on their BMI but may actually experience obesity – related problems such as hypertension, raised blood glucose levels, dyslipidaemia and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This occurs where a person appears to be a healthy weight but has large amounts of visceral fat in their bodies. Visceral fat is fat surrounding organs like the liver. This type of fat is known to raise inflammation levels in the body which in turn may cause health issues. Sneaky stuff!
This shows us that we should not rely on BMI alone as an indicator of overall health status. Body fat percentage should also be taken into account. It’s important for all of us to get regular check-ups with our GP and to ensure our lipid profiles and blood glucose levels are monitored, regardless of our BMI. When a person has a higher percentage of muscle (lean body mass) we have less body fat (adiposity) and this reduces risk of metabolic disease. Muscle is very metabolically active so when we have more we tend to have a higher metabolic rate. Incorporating resistance exercises into your physical activity at least three times per week can help to build muscle.
This doesn’t mean all ‘skinny’ people are unhealthy by any manner or means!! The main points here are to maintain a well -rounded diet with a wide variety of foods including wholegrains, fruit and veg and lean protein sources. Engage in some sort of resistance training a few times a week, get adequate rest and regular check-ups.
Be healthy and happy 😊
Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.