Sunday, 5 September 2010

Fat; A (Sophisticated) Battery

More 'revelations' that fat is not simply a dormant storage mechanism for 'excess calories' and is in fact, part of a vastly more complex system. 

In 'New Evidence That Fat Cells Are Not Just Dormant Storage Depots for Calories' it is noted that fat "is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body".  The article reports on 20 different hormones and other chemical that are used to manage the sub-system as a whole.  Some of us have come across the basics -  leptin (controlling appetite) adiponectin, but the article goes on to mention that,
  • "...scientists identified 80 different proteins produced by the fat cells. These include six new proteins and 20 proteins that have not been previously detected in human fat cells. The findings could pave the way for a better understanding of the role that hormone-secreting fat cells play in heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases."
For me it was a big step to think of fat as a battery rather than simply as a dumping ground - and once you can accept that, and think of it as a consequence of hormonal activity, not of gluttony, you are on your first step to appreciating the cause of obesity and its cure.

The dumping ground model is intrinsic to those who see fat in light of 'eat less, do more'.  We are clearly dealing with something way more complicated than that.  To be honest the difference is akin to thinking you solve the Rubik's Cube by breaking it apart and reassembling the pieces in order, or simply peeling off and moving the stickers compared to exacting algorithms to engineer a solution using combinations of twists and turns!

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