Overeating sends ‘good’ brown fat into “death spiral”

Turns out that overeating high calorie foods is doubly troublesome: not only does it increase the production of “bad” white fat, it also leads to dysfunction in “good” brown fat cells, cells that, when functioning normally, actually burn calories

White fat cells are the type prominent in obesity, whereas brown fat generates heat and burns energy

The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, is the first to describe how overeating causes brown fat cells to “whiten”

The results illustrate the important role that a healthy diet plays in overall health and the pivotal role that brown fat plays in metabolism

Using experimental models, the researchers demonstrate that over-nutrition leads to a cellular signaling dysfunction that causes brown fat cells to lose neighboring blood vessels, depriving the cells of oxygen

In turn, this causes the brown fat cells to lose their mitochondria, which leads to their inability to burn fatty acids and produce heat. Sounds bad, and it is: this collapse, the researchers report, can have far-reaching effects on the development of metabolic conditions, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease

Continuous food supply

“If we go back to when humans were hunter-gatherers, days could pass between when they could eat, so it was a survival advantage to be able to store excess energy in white fat cells,” says Kenneth Walsh, director of the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at Boston University School of Medicine and the study’s senior author

“What served us so well as primitive organisms is now hurting us because we have a continuous food supply and are accumulating too many white fat cells”

The study results highlight the important relationship between fat tissue and the cardiovascular system, and indicate that the cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension and high cholesterol that contribute to blood vessel damage, could also lead to the dysfunction of brown fat cells

As Walsh succinctly puts it, “in addition to the expansion of white fat cells, our study shows that overeating causes brown fat cells to get locked into a death spiral, leading to their ultimate dysfunction”

“More research needs to focus on whether stopping these activities from happening in brown fat cells could help combat obesity”

If you want to take control over food, here are some useful tips to help you achieve your goal and stop overeating for good.

Don’t skip meals.

There is a greater chance that you run the risk of overeating if you skip daily meals, because if you don’t feed your body regularly, once you provide it with food, it doesn’t have measure of how much it actually needs. If you don’t eat throughout the day, you will probably two portions or more late in the evening and that definitely leads to overeating

Eat breakfast every morning

By eating breakfast every morning, you provide your body with enough necessary nutrients so it functions properly and it doesn’t need extra calories throughout the day that will only accumulate and that might eventually lead to weight gain

Drink enough water

Although it might seem unbelievable, drinking enough water effectively lowers the feeling of hunger and doesn’t allow overeating to take place. It is highly recommended to drink a glass of water half an hour before each meal

Include snacks on your menu

A handful of nuts or seeds should be your healthy choice in your new dietary habits for healthy eating. It’s been proved that they significantly decrease the chances for overeating and, more important, they  convert the food into energy, so their regular consumption between meals can be your best ally in prevention of overeating afterwards

Sleep enough

Recent studies reveal that people who had more than 6 hours of sleep had less problems with overeating as compared to those who slept for less than 6 hours

Eat slowly

It takes the brain 20 minutes to get the information that you have had enough food. If you eat too quickly and finish your meal in 10 minutes, then the brain thinks that you’re still hungry and that’s one of the reasons you continue eating in the next 10 minutes. And when 20 minutes pass, you are feeling uncomfortably full after the meal

Distinguish between real and fake sense of hunger

There is a great difference between real hunger and feeling hungry out of boredom, stress or sadness. Sometimes if you’re not in the mood you might mistake the false hunger for the real one. So, next time you think you are feeling hungry, think again !

Avoid sweets

Regular consumption of too much sugar leads to sugar addiction which is often the main culprit for overeating. If you want to satisfy your needs for sugar, try some healthier option, such as fruits or fresh fruit juices

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