Fat really has gotten a bad rap. Suddenly my mind jumps to a bacon wrap. Fat is such an important aspect of our diets when opting for the right kind of fats and blaming it for excess weight failures is not appropriate. It is time we appreciate the gift that it is.
Did you know your body has nearly 30 billion fat cells? Clearly with a number this high-fat cells must not be a mistake. Fat cells are normal to have in our body and definitely have a purpose such as keeping us healthy. They do a lot like protect our interior organs kind of like padding. They are smart enough to store energy that you can use whenever you need it. They also know how to sense the temperature and help burn energy when you are cold. Probably one of the more significant things about fat cells is that they actually secrete hormones that tell your brain when you have plenty of energy reserves so your appetite will calm.
Your fat cell number is determined before birth and research shows that the life conditions of the fetus such as the mother’s diet or stress determine the number of fat cells you have for life. This is when your epigenetic markers (lifestyle factors) come into play and why I wrote a special blog stating that your excess weight may not actually be your fault.
There are a few different fat cells; brown, beige and white. The brown and beige fat cells help burn white fat as energy for warmth when you need it. These levels decline with age and maybe why aging leads to fat creep. White fat cells are stored as an oil drop within a cell. You don’t want a lot of these.
There are different types of fat cells; visceral fat vs. subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat surrounds the internal organs within the liver, kidneys, and intestines. They can have many inflammatory macrophage cells and lead to many health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and cardiovascular disease. It is very active through metabolism and there are many strategies to lose it. Subcutaneous fat is right under the skin and it is very hard to lose and very easy to gain. Vigorous exercise is the only reliable way to keep it off.
Fat cells send and receive a lot of metabolic communication (hormones) as well. They literally have receptor sites for communicators such as insulin, thyroid stimulating hormone, estrogen, glucagon, vitamin D and a whole host of other hormones that determine hunger, appetite and whether or not you are satisfied.
Fat cells also have an immune system all their own. There are guardian immune cells that live in the fat and kill infectious cells that are too numerous to reduce inflammation in the body. When obesity is present then inflammation will be elevated. The fat cells collaborate with the immune cells to help with this imbalance.
Reduction of inflammation in the body is a key to obesity. When fat cells make anti-inflammatory chemicals verses fat cells that make inflammatory chemicals a body will have lean weight vs. obesity. When working through excess weight concerns, one should ask is there anything or anyone I am trying to protect myself from either now or in the past when the excess weight started being noticeable? This could play out in a number of possibilities such as stress, trauma, physical or even sexual abuse. And it may stem from one feeling unsafe whether from abuse, wartime etc. Those traumas or unresolved “inflammatory” times of conflict are clues to excess weight as well. Fat serves a purpose even when the reason is to protect one from feeling unsafe. It serves a very important role in our world.
If you would like to understand whether or not inflammation in your body is the missing link for you to explore regarding excess weight concerns, be sure to schedule your session. You may also find these other articles on weight valuable. Is Your Excess Weight Really Your Fault? Or Fat Free Foods – At What Cost to Our Health?