The real skinny on fat cells and how they do good thingsPublished 10:28am Friday, April 27, 2012
As a personal trainer and nutritionist, one of my most important jobs is to educate folks. The more they know about how their bodies work, the easier it is to reach their goals.
Most people come to me to help them lose body fat. They, like many people consider body fat to be public enemy #1, but what I teach them is that fat actually does some really great things for us all.
“Adipose” tissue (fat) , is an anatomical term for loose connective tissue that is composed of “adipocytes,” or fat cells. There are three types of fat, depending on its location in the body.
1) “Subcutaneous” fat is located just below the skin’s surface.
2) “Visceral” fat is buried deep in the body.
3) “Retroperitoneal” fat is located inside the abdominal cavity, which also contains “visceral” fat.
So just what good does body fat do for us? Well, for starters, fat helps protect internal organs by creating a type of cushion. Fat is also a great fuel and energy source when our bodies need it.
Fat cells help make hormones do their jobs and control chemicals that regulate the immune system, metabolism and brain function. In fact, some biologists have actually begun calling fat an “endocrine organ,” comparing it to glands like the thyroid and pituitary, which also release hormones straight into the bloodstream.
Fat cells also transmit signals to the brain. These cells have receptors that can be turned on or off. The receptors tell other cells to store or release more fat, or to secrete chemicals that influence appetite and the body’s use of insulin.