TOFI – Thin Outside Fat Inside

This term has been brought to public attention recently and perhaps you should be paying attention to it. If you are externally in good shape and even if you are reasonably fit, there is a chance that you could have some unsettlingly bad health going on in your abdomen.

Not all fat is visible from the outside, you carry internal fat in many places but most importantly in your abdominal and chest cavities. This fat is wrapped around your organs, slowing their function and damaging them, long term. This fat is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and atherosclerosis. When someone who you would not expect gets one of these problems it may be internal fat that caused it.

A normal male of BMI 20-25 should have under 2L of internal fat but when tested in an MRI scanner people are commonly found with up to 5L and sometimes as much as 7L of internal fat! Imagine seeing 7L of internal fat in jugs on a table…then try and get that into your body… Nice. And remember these are people you would think were healthy to look at, obese people can have as much as 10-15L.

So where does it come from? Since the 70’s we are all on average 3 stone heavier and quite a lot of that is due to internal fat. The obvious answer is that internal fat comes from our modern diet, particularly; sugar, trans fat, alcohol…. Other modern influences that stimulate this fat storage pattern are; poor sleep, low activity levels, long working hours and high stress.

You can’t tell if you have internal fat unless you are tested in an MRI scanner. This means it’s a silent killer in most cases, so ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I eat sugar and processed foods? Can I cut them out?
  2. Do I binge drink?
  3. Am I tired and overworked?
  4. Do I exercise less than 3 times a week and have low daily activity levels?

If the answer to these questions is mostly YES then you might want to start thinking about how you can turn the tables now, before you get 10 years down the line and the doctor is talking to you in an apologetic tone of voice.

As we are often talking about externally healthy people who may well exercise regularly, have jobs and need them, who might want to let their hair down on the weekends… the simplest way to make a difference without buying a robe and heading for the hills is to cut out the sugar and processed food.

This rubbish has been forced into our diets by companies whose best interest is you buying lots of their products. They market this stuff in your face 24/7 and they are doing a great job. Jimmy Bell, head of molecular imaging at Imperial college London, who pioneered this area of research, said on the recent BBC documentary ‘The Men Who Made Us Fat’ that “(sic) It’s a war between our ability to restrain ourselves and their ability to tempt us. They make money making us fat.” 

I know reading this info has made me sit up and look at what I’m putting in my mouth. As a healthy person exercising regularly I feel I can get away with the odd ‘treat’, but maybe that treat has become a bit too regular without me realising. I’m on sugar watch, are you?

If you feel TOFI is you all over then you could benefit from going a step further and doing a Liver cleanse. This will support your body in getting rid of toxins, lowering your liver’s workload and allow it to get on with the job of processing fat. If you are interested in taking this step contact me at and I will set you up with a well planned cleanse.

To your health,


James Hardy