Why does fat cause health problems?
We tend to think of fat as an inert substance, much like a tub of cooking fat that you might keep in the fridge. However, visceral fat is an active endocrine organ.
Endocrine organs are those that secrete hormones and other bio-active substances, which impact how the body works. Perhaps the most common endocrine organ that you might know of is the pancreas which secretes insulin.
Fat secretes over ten active substances which all affect health. If you have less fat, less of these substances will be produced in the body. If you have more fat, more of these substances will be produced and can result in various health problems, such as diabetes and others you will learn about in this week of the course.
Optional further reading:
- Ahima RS. Adipose Tissue as an Endocrine Organ. Obesity. 2006 Aug;14:242S–249S.
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