How Does Fat Affect Us?

How Does Fat Affect UsFat can slow us down and change the ways our bodies look, but it can also affect us on a chemical level. Though we often think of fat as useless cushioning, body fat can have a strong influence on the body’s functions and contribute to numerous health problems as we develop more of it.

“Excess body fat sets off a whole cascade of medical conditions that include inflammation of the arteries and inflammation throughout the body,” says Dr. Robert Ziltzer, a medical obesity specialist.

These detrimental effects of fat help to explain why weight loss can dramatically improve your health and protect you from serious conditions.

The Functions of Fat

One of fat’s roles is to help us save extra energy. When we take in more calories than we can use, our bodies can convert this energy to fat and store it in fat cells. However, as our fat cells continue to grow and multiply, they can become overburdened and begin polluting the body, influencing the way we regulate important functions.

Think of each fat cell as a balloon. When there isn’t much air in the balloon, it isn’t stressed or likely to pop. When the balloon continues to be pumped full of air, however, it becomes more unstable as it stretches, and it may start to leak.

Just like a balloon, fat cells become more volatile as they grow larger. They can begin secreting chemicals that induce inflammation, which can cause a variety of health problems.

“Each fat cell, as it gets stretched out, sends signals to the rest of the body that cause an inflammatory reaction,” says Craig Primack, MD.

This inflammatory reaction contributes to hypertension and other obesity-related diseases. But fat cells can also lead to increased estrogen production in the body, and according to Dr. Primack, this is why obesity is linked to estrogen-sensitive cancers like breast cancer and uterine cancer.

“Having excess fat is almost like taking a hormone pill by itself,” Dr. Primack says.

Fat’s influence on our hormones can even cause hunger. Our fat stores produce the hormone leptin, which is responsible for telling our brains when we’re full. As we get rid of fat, our bodies produce less leptin, which makes us hungrier as our bodies attempt to regain some of the energy stores lost by burning fat.

“When we use medications as part of a program, we’re trying to suppress the drive from those hormones that increase hunger and lessen fullness,” Dr. Primack says.

Burning Fat for Better Health

Eating a low-calorie, high-protein diet will help your body begin burning fat for fuel, reducing the size of the fat cells and returning them to normal function. As you lose weight and the fat cells start to shrink, levels of inflammatory chemicals are reduced, hunger becomes less severe and you reduce your risk of developing obesity-related illnesses. This is one reason that losing weight can have such a positive influence on your health.Related Posts

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