tissue – better known as fat – has an essential role in maintaining our body.
Fat provides the energy we need to function, but too much fat increases our
risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. But not all fat
is created equal, as Faith Lapidus reports.
study from Temple University in Philadelphia reveals that the fat in obese
people is dysfunctional. Endocrinologist Guenther Boden examined fat cells from
obese and lean people, and found a striking difference at the cellular level.
"There are all kinds of abnormalities [in the fat from obese people] that
make it hard for the adipose tissue to do what it's supposed to do, namely to
store excess nutrients and excess calories in the form of fat."
If the fat tissue on our hips and buttocks is dysfunctional, the excess
calories have to be stored somewhere else. So they become fat cells in other
organs, such as the liver and skeletal muscle… and that, Boden says, can have
outlines what can happen if you accumulate too much fat in your liver. "A
certain percentage of fatty livers become inflamed and then you have real
problems, and eventually a certain percentage goes into cirrhosis, and some of
these cirrhotic livers then turn into liver cancer, so you've got all sorts of
bad consequences from storing too much fat in your liver." Muscle tissue
that is storing too much fat becomes unresponsive to insulin, and that can lead
to diabetes and hypertension.
a specialist in diabetes, stresses that there is no evidence that dysfunctional
fat cells are responsible for this fat infiltration into other organs and the
resulting disease… although he admits it makes sense and is an area for further
has been no research yet on whether losing weight can make dysfunctional fat
cells healthy again, but Boden points out that losing weight can make a person
healthier. "Just losing a few pounds will have very, very beneficial
effects, very soon."
Boden's study appears in the September issue of Diabetes.