Fat often gets a bad rap, but it isn't our enemy. From its role storing energy to releasing hormones that control the feelings of hunger, it's essential to us every single day.
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Fat is an evolutionary advantage. It allows us to store a lot of energy in relatively dense packages; gram for gram, fat is the most efficient way to store energy in our bodies.
But don’t get it twisted, fat is more than just a storage center, it’s an ever-changing organ that contributes to our wellbeing.
In today’s Human, we’re not talking about dietary fats like the ones from oil, butter, or meat. This video focuses on fat as adipose tissue, a collection of different cells that we have in different locations in our bodies. This type of tissue is made of endothelial cells, a few immune cells, but mostly a special type of cell called adipocytes.
In every gram of adipose tissue, you’ll find anywhere from one to two million adipocytes.
And it might surprise you that fat cells aren’t passive structures. Adipocytes are living, metabolizing cells with structures like nuclei that hold DNA.
But most of an adipocyte’s body is a storage site for lipid, the energy storage we’re so interested in.
We have approximately 30 billion fat cells, and when we store some excess energy, the cells will grow in size. Then if they can’t grow anymore but you still need to store energy, you’ll grow new fat cells so you can store more energy.
Humans have visceral fat (the type of fat you’re used to seeing that lives in the abdomen and surrounds your internal organs) and we have subcutaneous fat, a fat that exists under the skin.
Find out all the ways these different fats work to support your body and help you function day-to-day in this Human.
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