Dieting has become one of the key ways of losing weight but for some, even strict dieting doesn't give them the desired results. Recently, scientists revealed that the reason behind this could be the fat which becomes scarred, distressed, and inflamed.
The body's fat-storing mechanism known as adipose tissues store our excess calories in the form of high-energy molecules called lipids. However, the new research found that the cells can bulge to a size that literally suffocates them leading to inflammation thereby affecting the adipose tissue's functioning.
This process not only makes it harder for obese people to slim down but also puts the other organs at risk of critical damage which might lead to several health complications such as fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.
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Dr Katarina Kos, from the University of Exeter's medical school, said: "We know that obese people can suffer scarring of their fat tissue which may make it harder to lose weight. These fat cells are less able to store excess calories, and so may cause fat to move into and wrap around organs such as the liver."
Researchers from the university examined tissue samples from overweight patients undergoing bariatric surgery. They found that the levels of an enzyme called lysyl oxidase or LOX increase in adipose tissues as the body mass index of an individual goes up, indicating the cells were being scarred as they expanded in size.
Since now the researchers know what's causing the problem they're hoping to develop a drug to stop this.
"Our research was aimed at seeing what drives this, and now we know, there may be the potential for a drug to be developed to block this from happening. The next stage is to explore whether drug treatment could have an impact," Dr Katarina Kos noted.
However, until a drug is developed — the key to losing weight for people in this situation is limited to old-fashioned diet and exercise.
Dr Kos said: "The advice continues to be for people to try to control their intake of surplus calories and burn them off when possible. Something as simple as going for a walk after meals could help to burn off calories without overburdening the fat tissue and which may prevent it from scarring."
This research was published in Metabolism.