Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Weird Metabolic Science

The Independent (U.K.) reports Australian research results which help explain the brain mechanism that controls whether eaten calories are burned as energy and warmth, or stored as fat. Hat tip to Drudge Report for the link.
Scientists looked specifically at how the body converts white fat, which stores energy, into the brown fat that is used to burn it. Fat is stored in special cells that are able to change from brown to white, and so help the body burn or keep the energy it eats.

They found that when a person eats, the body responds by circulating insulin. The brain then sends out signals to encourage the browning of fat, so that it can expend energy.

Likewise, when someone is not eating or is fasting, the brain sends instructions to the special cells known as adipocytes telling them to turn fat white. That helps store the energy when people aren’t eating, and makes sure that a person’s body weight stays stable.

But in obese people, the switch doesn’t seem to work properly – it gets stuck in the on position. When people eat, it doesn’t turn to off – and so energy isn’t expended.
The article doesn't say so, but I bet the 'switch' can get stuck in the off position as well, which explains how some thin people can eat like a horse and never gain an ounce. I hope they get busy learning how to regulate this 'switch.'