It might be good for us to carry extra weight in our thighs and butt? This is a first!
We've known for a while that having a “pear” body shape is better than having an “apple” – studies have shown that if your body stores its excess fat in the stomach area, you are at a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. But now there seems there may actually be some protective aspects to fat in the butt and thigh area.
In a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity this week, researchers from the University of Oxford in England found that hip and thigh fat might help reduce the incidence of heart disease and diabetes. From a story on MSNBC.com:
“Stomach fat is considered more metabolically active than lower body fat. While that may sound good, as this fat breaks down easily, the result is a release of substances called cytokines, which have been linked to cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and diabetes. In fact, research on mice reported in 2008 revealed that belly fat boosts inflammation and is linked with hardening of the arteries — known to increase the risk of heart attacks.
“But scientists think lower body fat, like that around the hips and thighs, produces beneficial hormones that protect against these diseases, though more research is needed to firm up this expectation.
“In addition, this lower body fat also traps fatty acids. While this long-term storage can make it tricky to slim down your butt and thighs, it's healthier for you if some fat stays put.
"If fatty acids are not stored in fat but are stored in other organs like the liver or the arteries this makes you prone to develop diabetes and heart disease," said lead researcher Konstantinos Manolopoulos.
"It is the protective role of lower body, that is [thigh and backside] fat, that is striking,” the researchers wrote. “The protective properties of the lower body fat depot have been confirmed in many studies conducted in subjects with a wide range of age, BMI and co-morbidities," they wrote.