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A friend of mine, Jill, often comments on how everything she eats goes straight to her belly and then holds out there indefinitely. She has tried every diet and exercise known to mankind and still can’t seem to get rid of her mid-section blues.
As it turns out, Jill’s belly pooch may be more than a storage center for surplus calories and an annoying deterrent to wearing her favorite skinny jeans; it could put her at increase risk of heart attacks, cancer and other chronic illnesses.
According to new scientific research, fat tissue stored in the belly region “is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body that contributes to chronic illnesses.”
Scientists at Maastricht University in The Netherlands reported in Journal of Proteome Research they discovered 20 new hormones and substances not previously known to be secreted into the body by human fats cells. The researchers say this discovery is verification that fat secretes dozens of chemical messengers all around the body.
Excess fat cells are implicated in the cause of serious health conditions -- cancer (breast, colon and pancreatic), dementia, heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, osteoarthritis, metabolic syndrome and sleep apnea to name a few. But where you store fat matters. If it’s your butt or thighs there's good news. You may be at lower risk for these serious health conditions.
New information about fat production is yielding some interesting results. At one time scientists had collectively thought fat cells were nothing more than static storage depots for surplus calories, but more recent research has established fat cells are instead active participants that secrete hormones and proteins—like leptin, which controls the appetite, and adiponectin, a chemical that produces sensitivity to insulin and helps control blood sugar level—just like many other organs inside the body.
It’s a little hard to comprehend that on average, the adult body contains some 27 billion fat cells while an overweight body can contain up to 300 billion fat cells— 10 times normal.