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Fat is one of the basic components that make up the structure of your body. The other components include muscle, water, bone and your organs — the brain, liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach, pancreas, and intestines. etc. All are necessary for normal, healthy functioning.

Body fat can be divided into two categories: Essential fat and storage fat. As its name implies, "Essential fat" is the minimum amount of fat necessary for basic physical and physiological health. It is stored in small amounts in your bone marrow, organs, central nervous system and muscles. In men, essential fat is approximately 3% of body weight. Women, however, have a higher percentage of essential fat — about 12%. This is because their essential fat also includes some sex-specific fat found in the breasts, pelvis, hips and thighs. This sex-specific fat is believed to be critical for normal reproductive function.

Storage fat is the other type of body fat. This is the fat you accumulate beneath your skin, in certain specific areas inside your body, and in your muscles. It also includes the deep fat that protects your internal organs from injury. Men and women have similar amounts of storage fat.

It is desirable to have some storage fat due to the protective role it plays in your body. However, most storage fat is considered to be "expendable". Storage fat:

  • Increases when you gain weight
  • Is what you want to lose when you lose weight. Many Americans have too much storage fat, while some have too little. Too much or too little storage fat is unhealthy.