What’s Your Fat Blueprint?

Health Alert 202

Have you ever gone on a diet only to gain back the weight, plus some? We just put together another piece to that frustrating puzzle.

Until recently, we thought fat cells were passive blobs. They were supposed to do nothing but lie around, expand our bellies, and wear us out from hefting them around. But new research shows that fat cells are anything but passive. In fact, they’re very active, formidable opponents in the fat battle. So if you ever felt like your body fights you tooth and nail when it comes to fat loss, you’re not far off the mark.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the new discoveries about fat cells. And how you can use this new recognizance of the enemy to finally win the war against excess fat.

* The Secret Life of a Fat Cell *

If you think fat looks bad, wait until you learn how badly it behaves. For starters, fatty tissue contains immune cells that cause inflammation linked to heart disease.

Too much fat decreases release of important hormone necessary for insulin to do its job. With fat suppressing this hormone, you have to secrete more insulin. Higher insulin, in turn, builds more body fat. To make fat even worse, another hormone secreted by excess fat makes our bodies more resistant to insulin, which leads to high blood sugar, more body fat and diabetes.

And another surprise: We used to think people were born with all the fat cells they’d ever have. As they gained weight, the cells just got bigger. Not so. Now we know fat cells grow only to a certain size, then, they signal the body to make more fat cells.

One of the most important new discoveries is that everyone’s body has its own blueprint of where fat will collect, and that blueprint is a good predictor of whether you’ll be prone to heart disease and other weight-related illnesses.

* How to Know Your Fat Blue Print *

Your fat blueprint is stamped in the shape of your body. If most of your fat collects in your abdomen, you have a higher risk of heart disease. If on the other hand, your fat collects on your hips, thighs, and backside it is less of a risk for heart disease than we used to think. But, anyone carrying extra fat is at risk for diabetes.

Sounds depressing doesn’t it? But here’s the kernel of good news. In one sense, your fat makes you fat. Fat makes you build more fat. When you first lose fat your fat rebels and tries everything to get you to build the fat back. This means that if you employ strategies to lose fat, the longer you keep it off the more your fat hormone factory is reduced making the job easer for you over time. By limiting your intake of carbohydrates and increasing protein and exercise, you can shrink those fat cells permanently – and stop their damaging effects on your body.

Al Sears MD

Fat: The Secret Life of a Potent Cell, The New York Times, July 6, 2004