Soundtrack: Dead Prez “Way Of Life”
Our latest entry at COMPLETE CONSTRUCTIVE CHANGE was about women, fat, and fibroids. As a follow-up to that, I want to specifically discuss men and body fat. The dangers of fat, especially belly fat, are not just limited to women. There are some very serious complications that men can develop from having a spare tire around the waist.
One interesting fact about fat is that once you get fat, even if you lose the weight, it becomes easier to get fat again. When you consume more calories than you burn off, fat cells in the body swell to as much as six times their minimum size, and they begin to multiply — from 40 billion in an average adult up to 100 billion. This is why muscle takes up less space than fat, a 190 pound muscular person will be smaller than a 190 pound fat person. The fat is swollen, fluffy.
The good news is that you can still lose weight after your fat cells swell and multiply; in fact, when you lose weight, your fat cells shrink. Although their total number only decreases slightly (if at all), the cells become less metabolically active and remain in your body, waiting for you to pick up a bag of pork rinds so they can expand again. This means that it’s better to try to maintain a normal weight than to gain and lose weight on fast, “quick fix” types of diets. Someone who has maintained a normal weight (i.e. has been relatively thin) all their life will have an easier time staying at that weight than someone whose fat cells have swelled and multiplied.
Another unique problem that comes from excess fat is that fat tissue attracts immune system cells called mircrophages that promote inflammation. So, if you are carrying any extra fat, your body begins to produce an immune response similar to the reaction your body exhibits when you develop the flu or have an injury. Inflammation’s intended purpose in the body is to fight infection. Therefore, your body sees the extra fat calories that you consume from fried calamari and greasy pizza as an invasion in the body. Not cool.
One of the main issues with fat is that it behaves differently in different parts of the body. Men typically carry excess weight in the midsection; thus, if you gain weight (whether you drink beer or not), most of it will go directly to your gut first. Belly fat increases the likelihood of bad cholesterol (LDL), triggers extra fat in the bloodstream, and raises blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Furthermore, abdominal fat tends to be deeper inside the body, as opposed to hip or thigh fat, which is stored directly under the skin.
Fat cells within the abdomen are metabolically more active than fat cells located in other areas of the body. They release more fatty acids, which can lead to diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Abdominal fat cells may also affect the healthy functioning of the liver..
Another huge issue for men with excess body fat is that fat cells secrete extra estrogen. Estrogen is the hormone that makes the female body feminine. It is natural for women to have have more body fat than men, on average, because fat cells produce estrogen. Men naturally produce some estrogen from the testes and that estrogen plays an important role in regulating a healthy libido, improving brain function (especially memory) and protecting the heart.
When estrogen levels are too high in men, testosterone levels are reduced, and many men experience fatigue, muscle tone loss, decreased sexual function, and in some cases, enlarged prostates. Excess estrogen can also lead to man boobs. It signals the body to trigger the growth of breasts. Again, not cool.
What might be the worst side-effect of all for men with too much belly fat is a shrinkage of the penis. As fat accumulates on the lower abdomen, the apparent size of the penis changes. A large pad of fat on the pubic mound makes the shaft of the penis look shorter. Most men are not aware that half the length of the penis is inside the body. The penis actually starts deep inside the body at the pubic bone. Adding more padding onto this area of the body serves to cover up more of the penis. In some cases, abdominal fat all but buries the penis. Bringing the front of the body backward allows for more of the internal penis to be visible to the eye. Doctors estimate that for every 35 pounds of body fat that a man loses, another inch of penis becomes visible.
In addition to this apparent shrinkage, belly fat can also cause an actual reduction in the size of the penis and the quality of erections. The reduction — in both length and thickness — typically isn’t dramatic but may be noticeable. A man can lose up to an inch of length because of the effects of fat.
There are a couple of mechanisms involved in reducing penis size. The main one as it relates to body fat is the slow deposit of fatty substances (plaques) inside tiny arteries in the penis, which impairs blood flow to the organ. This process, known as atherosclerosis, is the same one that contributes to blockages inside the coronary arteries — a leading cause of heart attack. Erections occur when blood fills the penile tissue, causing it to expand. Reduced blood flow means reduced erections. Not. Cool.
The moral of the story is, the gut affects a whole lot more than just how your clothes fit. Your MANHOOD literally and figuratively depends on you keeping your midsection free of excess fat. Your body needs its testosterone production to be at optimum levels in order for you to be the man that you are supposed to be. Excess fat is a sure way to reduce that testosterone production. We all know how to lose fat. Eat food that comes from the ground e.g. fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes. Exercise. Like your life depends on it. Because it does.