10 Myths About Body Fat

Fat Cells Only Store Fat
Fat cells — shown here surrounded by collagen fibers — don’t just sit there. Aside from providing the body with energy, they also produce hormones. © Photo Quest Ltd/Science Photo Library/Corbis

Body fat has two primary functions. It will come as little surprise that our fat cells store lipids for future energy needs, but did you know that body fat, which is adipose tissue, is considered an endocrine organ? Fat cells are biologically active, and they produce hormones such as leptin, which influences our appetite, and adiponectin, which controls how well the body regulates glucose and breaks down fats.

There's a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario when it comes to our body fat, though, as we know that an excess or lack of certain hormones can cause us to gain or lose weight, but our weight also directly affects the amounts of these hormones in the body. If the wrong messages are sent throughout the body, there's a risk of insulin resistance, elevated levels of lipids in our blood (hyperlipidemia) and vascular inflammation.

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