Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Is Fat Your Biggest Organ

Fat is just fat right? New research is showing that it's more like a parasite in your body demanding more and more food and less and less movement. So how do we fight this?

In the 90s scientists began to realize that fat is best understood as a huge endocrine gland that exerts a powerful influence over the rest of your body. For a typical North American, their fat tissue is their biggest organ. So if fat is basically our biggest organ, that changes our whole understanding, and the more fat you have, the more it will demand, and the more it will try to grow and get bigger.

But as there are good fats to consume and bad fats (man made fats) there are also good and bad fats in our body. Fat under the skin, subcutaneous fat, which is part of our youthful appearance, protects our body from injury, helps fight infection and heal wounds, and it also produces a hormone called adiponectin, which appears to help metabolism and protect against some cancers.

As we get older we lose more of this fat, our face and hands get bonier as a result. Instead we build up fat around our waist, visceral fat. It surrounds and invades our organs and covers our organs in a nasty chemical stew that wreaks havoc in the body. It basically inflames our body. It also accelerates aging process.

What about liposuction? That only removes the fat under the skin, the good fat, which can then lead to a host of other health issues. You cannot liposuction the fat around your organs. So you cannot replace diet and exercise, truly.

More than half of all doctors will talk to you about options, put you on pills, supplements, recommend surgery, but will never mention exercise. In sedentary inactive people, fat will invade muscles, basically marbling them. It can also invade muscle cells, making them sluggish. When it invades the liver, you will have a whole nightmare of health issues. Muscle is dynamic and when it contracts, it undergoes changes at the cellular level. It is the natural mortal enemy of fat.

More fat means less muscle, which means less mitochondria. Mitochondria is plentiful in muscle tissue, and in the majority of fat, it almost doesn't exist. What does mitochondria do? Give energy to your cells. What does it mean for you? More fat you have, the more sluggish you will be, and the harder it is for your body to burn off fat, you need lots of mitochondria to burn off fat. Meaning you need a lot of muscle to burn off fat. So why isn't muscle building the first step of weight loss? It should be.

Muscle is also an endocrine organ that sends powerful signals to the body, especially the liver which is the fuel depot of the body. Muscle sends signals in the body to counteract fat. Exercise is anti-infammatory.

Healthy muscle leads to a healthier liver, healthier gut, healthier pancreas, and a healthier brain. Lots of muscle and exercise can even trick unhealthy visceral fat to act like good fat through the secretion of irisin, and use it to burn off excess fat. But research is finding out the benefits of exercise are hard to quantify because there are too many and could never be replaced with any pill or supplement.

Fat wants to keep us fat, muscle wants us to burn off fat. But as we get older, past our 30s, our bodies naturally start to get rid of lean muscle, so exercise becomes even more important.

The longer you wait, the more fat you accumulate, the fatter your body will become and harder it is to get rid of. The sooner you start, the more exercise you do, the better you eat, the easier it becomes. If your body has had a huge weight and fat problem, you will always have to be vigilant its a parasite and will always demand to grow larger. You can't slack off or coast. It is what it is. Diet and exercise is the cure. It's not hard in its complexity, because the answer is simple. It is hard becomes those two things will demand a lifetime of commitment.
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