New research has found that the problem with obesity is not an excess of fat, but rather a loss of function. A review published in Cell on February 23, 2022, shows researchers claim the negative health effects of obesity are not simply the excess of fat, but rather its ability to respond to changes. Fat loses its ability to respond to bodily cues as it declines in plasticity due to aging and obesity, leading to insulin resistance, inflammation, and cell death.

“The central role of adipose tissue dysfunction in disease and the incredible plasticity of fat tissue supports the promise of modulating fat tissue phenotypes for therapeutic purposes,” write the authors, led by Claudio J. Villanueva from the College of Life Sciences/David Geffen School of Medicine and Patrick Seale from Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Many questions and opportunities for future discovery remain, which will yield new insights into adipose tissue biology and hopefully lead to improved therapies for human disease” (Reference).

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