The Shocking Truth About Fat Cells.

The Shocking Truth About Fat Cells.

Jun 21, 2023

When you hear the phrase "fat cells" it usually denotes a bad connotation, right? But did you know there are positive benefits of fat cells? Yep. So this article is sharing the good and the bad of fat cells in our body.

First, though, let me briefly touch on what a cell does. The cell, and all its diverse functions, support every living thing. These functions depend on the type and location of the cell. The functions include:

1) cellular respiration to generate energy,

2) protein synthesis, to create new cellular parts,

3) DNA replication and repair, to keep accurate genetic information, mitosis, and cell division going,

4) and many other specialized activities.

All these tasks require precise coordination between numerous molecular elements, such as enzymes, proteins, and various cellular organelles (Berg, et al, 2002).

Fat cells, called adipocytes, play a number of important roles in the body I hadn't thought about in a long time so reading about them again was a huge eye-opening reminder that makes me not hate my fat cells so much.

One such vital role of fat cells is their amazing ability to store triglycerides, to be later released and used by the body as energy when required. Another role is insulating and cushioning the body's organs to help control hormone and metabolism levels. Additionally, a number of hormones and signaling molecules are secreted by fat cells, aiding in the control of appetite, blood sugar levels, and other critical physiological processes. Overall, fat cells are essential for preserving the body's healthy energy balance and general health. Good news, right?

However, when the body has too many fat cells, a condition known as adiposity or obesity can occur. This can lead to a number of negative health outcomes, as Gesta & Tseng (2007) point out. These outcomes include but are not limited to, increased risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. In addition, excess fat cells can put added pressure on joints, leading to joint pain and increased risk for osteoarthritis. Adiposity also puts increased stress on the body's metabolic processes, making it more difficult for the body to maintain proper blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

So, how does this all occur just by there being a few extra fat cells? This metabolic process is something that Baby Boomers, such as myself, should be most concerned with and watchful over. As our lifestyles become more sedentary, those few extra pounds that used to be easy to drop now become as stubborn as a mule to dissipate due to this overflow of fat cells' secretion. No wonder epidemiologists say the average person gains one to two pounds per year starting in early adulthood. Think about your weight at age 21. Now think about all your sugar intake over the past 40 years. So, if you're currently 61 years old, that is anywhere from 40 to 80 extra pounds you may be lugging around.

Again, to highlight the good role of fat cells, they give us the energy we need to balance tasks and endure matters. Fat cells' other benefit is to protect our liver, brain, and other vital organs from the extreme toxicity of high blood sugar, leading experts to deduce that obesity is actually a healthy response to high blood sugar (Kesser, 2019). Now, that's not to say obesity is healthy, so go out and eat a tub of ice cream. No, no, no! It means we should focus on diminishing high blood sugar so our fat cells aren't working overtime converting that glucose to protect our organs from glucose poisoning. Keep in mind, that process only works so long before it's like a dam opening up when the fat cells can’t accommodate any more glucose, and all hell breaks loose. Metabolic dysfunction sets in.

Metabolic dysfunction is when there's too much of something and imbalance occurs. In the case of too many fat cells, the dysfunction shows up as diabetes. We have all learned way too much about diabetes over the years to dismiss the dangers of it. Therefore, we must be vigilant to take proper measures to avoid its onset, first and foremost, then get rid of diabetes if it does occur.

I've always said, the easiest way to take control over our health issues, i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and the list goes on, is by focusing on your cells. Skin health, muscle health, bone health, and organ health. They all rely on healthy cells. Healthy cells rely on healthy mitochondria.

But that's getting into a whole other blog! Keep following me for more info on this down the road. Until then, happy cells to you.

Berg, J. M., Tymoczko, J. L., & Stryer, L. (2002). Biochemistry. W.H. Freeman
Gesta, S., & Tseng, Y. H. (2007). Kahn CR. Developmental origin of fat: tracking obesity to its source. Cell, 131(2), 242-256.
Kresser, C. (2019). Not All Fat People Get Diabetes, and Not All Diabetics Are Fat. Retrieved from:,other%20metabolic%20markers%20are%20normal.