27 September 2009

Fat vs. Fat

How's that for a confusing title?

So let's talk for a bit about the two types of fat we have unfortunately decided to use the same word for.

1. Adipose Tissue Adipose tissue is the technical name for the fluffy, soft fat that builds up on your body. Its primary roles are to store energy and provide your body with insulation and cushioning. Your skin is mostly fat and all of your organs are held in place and protected by a layer of adipose. Our bodies have evolved to rely on this versatile tissue to keep us healthy and functioning. The issues come when we have too much.

How do you get too much? As we've discussed many times before, adipose accumulation can largely be attributed to high amounts of carbohydrate (mainly as sugar and starch) in the diet. Insulin tells your cells to take up some of the sugar, and then it takes the rest to the liver where it is stored for a short period of time as glycogen. If this glycogen is not used in a timely manner, the liver gets rid of it. It becomes stored as none other than adipose tissue, or body fat. Genes and other hormones can also affect the formation of adipose tissue, but your diet can help greatly control these factors as well.

2. Lipids This word more accurately describes the kind of fat you ingest on a day to day basis in your food. I did a post covering all of the different kinds of fat not too long ago. These fats are required to maintain the function of the protective adipose, and they also aid in the absorption of many vitamins and minerals.

Lipids can be ultimately stored as fat, but when you practice a diet limiting sugar, most of these lipids are burned as energy. New research is also suggesting that fat isn't really the cause of obesity and heart disease after all.

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