Gaining body fat is, in most cases, undesirable. It doesn’t look appealing, and it weighs us down, slowing our performance. In some cases, it even causes illnesses that are associated with obesity. In this article, we will touch on how our body stores fat, and why does it happen.
What is Hyperplasia and Hypertrophy of fat cells?
Fat cell hyperplasia is a process that results in more fat cells. This method of obtaining body fat is characteristic of the female population. In men, however, it is hypertrophy of fat cells, where the larger size of already existing fat cells occurs.
Women are characterized by gynoid obesity, which means that they gain body fat mainly on the hips, similarly to the shape of a pear. Such fat accumulation (subcutaneous fat accumulation) is not dangerous and harmful.
The male population, however, is characterized by android obesity, in which fat gets stored around the abdomen. Such accumulation of fat is similar to the shape of an apple. Android obesity is more dangerous as fat builds up around your belly. It is characterized by the fact that a higher percentage of fat is accumulated around the internal organs, so it is not subcutaneous fat but visceral, which is harmful to health.
Why does fat distribute differently?
Hormones play the most prominent role in fat deposits in the body.
Testosterone and other androgenic hormones are linked to the android distribution of fat. Estrogenic hormones, however, to the gynoid. Increased testosterone levels in adolescent boys are associated with an increase in belly fat, and in girls, estrogen and progesterone increase fat in the lower body.
There are also differences in the release of fatty acids-lipolytic activity.
Men have higher concentrations of beta-adrenergic receptors in fat cells in the lower body, which increases the release of free fatty acids from stores in this area in response to catecholamines. Women, however, have higher concentrations of alpha-adrenergic receptors. The high level of these receptors diminishes the lipolytic response to catecholamines. That means that lower body fat stores are resistant to the release of free fatty acids into the bloodstream for oxidation, making it more difficult for women to lose lower body fat than men.
Why are nutrition and physical activity important?
- Strengthens and protects the health
- Quality of life
- It prevents the onset of obesity
We use BMI or Body mass index to define overweight individuals. BMI – Body mass index is calculated as the quotient between the weight in kg and the height in meters squared.
You can check my Body mass index calculator here;
Since BMI is usually not accurate, we can use another method called the WHR method or waist to hip ratio. Size to hip measurement is the best indicator to tell us if a patient has increased visceral fat.
How does WHR work?
The waist is measured with a measuring tape and divided by the diameter of the hips.
A ratio greater than 0.91 for men and more significant than 0.8 for women expresses android obesity (abdominal obesity), which possesses several health risks.
Let’s take me for example;
My waist measurement is 84 cm, and the hips came at 104 cm.
84/104 = 0.807, which means I am in ethical values and don’t have the risk of android obesity.
For those with a higher ratio, the risk of metabolic syndrome, called insulin resistance, may appear as:
- Increased blood sugar
- Increased blood pressure – hypertension
- Abnormal cholesterol values
- Excess body fat around the waist
Weight measurement can is done with bioelectrical impedance. It measures by electrical current whether the tissues are good or bad conductors. Fabrics with high water content are good conductors of electricity, such as muscles and blood. Poor conductors, however, are body fat, bones, organs. Bioelectric Impedance provides information on:
- Percentage of muscle mass
- Percentage of fat mass
- BMR- Basal Metabolic Rate
- Percentage of visceral fat
- The amount of water in the body
Obesity can be considered a disease because it increases the chance of heart disease (infarction, angina, cardiac arrhythmias) in people with a body mass index (BMI) above 25.
- People with a BMI of over 30, increase the risk of premature death by 50-100%.
- The risk is higher for men with more than 20% of body fat and women above 30%.
The dangers of obesity
- Hypertension and type 2 diabetes occur two times more often, and the chance of colon cancer increases.
- Asthma and joint wear can occur.
- Sleep apnea (sleep disturbances) is also common
- Premature birth or Bifida birth problems-poorly developed nerves; a child is unable to walk. He develops paraplegia.
Why does our body store fat?
Survival mechanism. It is as simple as that. Everything in our bodies is working in synergy, trying to survive, preserve, and reproduce millions of new cells every day. When we are hungry, we need to eat. And a simple queue, like the rumbling of the stomach, should be enough to tell us we need food.
But when we eat simply because we want to enjoy ourselves, have a party or a meeting or just of pure boredom, then we start to see changes on the scale. Usually, everything balances out, because we get the suppression of appetite after a big meal. But when we begin to overeat regularly, then we have a problem.
I don’t want to be the calorie police officer, who says “calories in vs. calories out,” but it does matter—the law of thermodynamics, simple as that. If we overeat, and we don’t spend this energy, our body will store this energy as body fuel in the shape of fat, as it is the fastest and easiest route to save. How our collection increases, fat is determined by our gender, our age, activity, BMR, and so on. Usually, for guys, it is hypertrophy of fat cells (bigger fat cells), and for girls hyperplasia (a more significant number of fat cells).
If we workout and have a calorie surplus, then we can start seeing some progress, usually as a result of muscle mass and strength gain. That is why it is important, we exercise and include some kind of resistance training if we want to be in better shape.
Take care of your body
To avoid obesity and illnesses associated with obesity, we need to take care of our bodies. They are meant to be used. Any kind of activity will help us get in better shape, which will positively affect our health and our minds. Of course, nutrition matters, and it is as much important as exercise. Everything goes hand in hand. But don’t neglect using your body. Try different sports, maybe you find something you like and then stick to it. When you find something you enjoy, you are probably willing to do it for the rest of your life, because you want to and not because someone told you to do so, including me. Take care of your body because it’s yours.