The main difference between visceral and subcutaneous fat is that the visceral fat is the fat, which wraps around the internal organs, whereas the subcutaneous fat is the fat just lies under the skin in the areas such as the belly, thighs, and rear. Furthermore, visceral fat is the dangerous form of fat while subcutaneous fat is comparatively less dangerous.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Visceral Fat
– Definition, Occurrence, Importance
2. What is Subcutaneous Fat
– Definition, Occurrence, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Visceral and Subcutaneous Fat
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Visceral and Subcutaneous Fat
– Comparison of Key Differences
Abdominal Obesity, Body Fat, Subcutaneous Fat, Type 2 Diabetes, Visceral Fat
What is Visceral Fat
Visceral fat is one of the three types of body fat, while the other two types are being subcutaneous fat and intramuscular fat. Here, subcutaneous fat occurs underneath the skin while intramuscular fat occurs interspersing in skeletal muscle. In contrast, visceral fat or intra abdominal fat occurs inside the peritoneal cavity. In other words, it occurs in between internal organs and torso. Also, the three types of visceral fat in the body include epididymal white adipose tissue (EWAT), mesenteric fat, and perirenal fat.
Furthermore, visceral fat is also known as active fat as it can actively increase the risk of many serious health problems. Significantly, the excess visceral fat causes central obesity or in other words, ‘pot belly’ or ‘beer belly’ effect. Especially, central obesity causes type 2 diabetes. Also, it causes insulin resistance, heart, disease, and hypertension. In addition, abdominal obesity is related to metabolic syndrome, inflammation, blood lipid disorders, etc.
What is Subcutaneous Fat
Subcutaneous fat is the second type of body fat, occurring underneath the skin. Generally, it represents the major part of the nonvisceral fat. Especially, it occurs in the hypodermis of the skin. Significantly, females have a higher amount of subcutaneous fat in regions, including hips, thighs, and buttocks. Basically, the main function of subcutaneous fat is to insulate the body from heat and cold. In addition to these, subcutaneous fat performs the major function as an endocrine organ in comparison to the other types of body fat.
Moreover, in males, low testosterone levels increase subcutaneous fat depositions in the thigh muscle areas. However, subcutaneous fat does not associate with any classic obesity-related health problems.
Similarities Between Visceral and Subcutaneous Fat
- Visceral and subcutaneous fat are the two types of abdominal fat.
- Both are forms of adipose tissue.
- Adipocytes are the major form of cells in both types of adipose tissue. Also, the other types of cells in the adipose tissue include preadipocytes, fibroblasts, adipose tissue macrophages, and endothelial cells. In addition to these, adipose tissue contains small blood vessels.
- The main function of both types of adipose tissue is to reserve lipids, which are one of the main energy sources of the body.
- Also, it serves as a major endocrine organ of the body, producing hormones including estrogen, leptin, resistin, and cytokines, including TNFα.
- Excess adipose tissue causes abdominal obesity, which in turn associated with different health problems.
What is the Difference Between Visceral and Subcutaneous Fat
Visceral fat refers to a type of body fat stored within the abdominal cavity and a number of important internal organs while subcutaneous fat refers to another type of body fat stored underneath the skin.
Visceral fat occurs inside the peritoneal cavity packed between the internal organs and torso while subcutaneous fat occurs in the hypodermis of the skin.
Visceral fat serves as protective padding while subcutaneous fat provides insulation from heat and cold.
Excess visceral fat causes central obesity or belly fat, while excess subcutaneous fat does not associate with the classic obesity problems.
Excess visceral fat causes type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammatory diseases, etc. while excess subcutaneous fat can be protective.
Visceral fat is active by means of causing health problems while subcutaneous fat is active by means of an endocrine organ.
Visceral fat is the type of body fat, occurring mainly around the internal organs. Therefore, it serves as protective padding. Also, excess visceral fat causes central obesity while associating with various health problems, including type 2 diabetes. In contrast, subcutaneous fat occurs underneath the skin, especially in the hypodermis. Significantly, it is prominent in hips, thighs, and buttocks of females. However, subcutaneous fat insulates the body from heat and cold and also, it does not associate with health problems. Therefore, the main difference between visceral and subcutaneous fat is their occurrence, function, and importance.
1. “Visceral Fat (Active Fat) – Types of Fat, Insulin Resistance & Health Risks.” Diabetes.co.uk, Diabetes Digital Media Ltd, Available Here.
2. Villines, Zawn. “How to Lose Subcutaneous Fat: All You Need to Know.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, Available Here.
1. “Pandemic of Lifestyle Diseases” By Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Blausen 0012 AdiposeTissue” By BruceBlaus. Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia