Weight gain may be the result of inefficient fat metabolism

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet have shown that protracted weight gain can, in some cases, be attributed to a reduced ability to metabolise fat.

Image Credit: Spectral-Design / Shutterstock

The team says certain people may need more intensive lifestyle changes if they are to decrease their risk of becoming overweight or developing type 2 diabetes.

We've suspected the presence of physiological mechanisms in fatty tissue that cause some people to become overweight and others not, despite similarities in lifestyle, and now we've found one."

Professor Mikael Rydén, Study Author

Rydén and colleagues are now working to develop a way of measuring the body’s ability to break down fat.

For the study, the researchers analysed subcutaneous fat samples taken from the abdomens of women before and after a follow-up period of approximately a decade.

As reported in the journal Cell Metabolism, they found that the ability of the fat cells to release fatty acids in the first tissue sample could be used to predict which women would have developed type 2 diabetes at the end of the study.

This fatty acid release, referred to as lipolysis, is a process the body uses to provide an energy source in muscles.

Researchers differentiate between two types of lipolysis – basal lipolysis, which is ongoing, and hormone-stimulated lipolysis, which occurs in response to an increased need for energy.

Rydén and team found that the fat cells from women who later became overweight showed a high basal, but low hormone-stimulated lipolysis that increased the risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes by 3 to 6 times.

"It's a bit like a car that's at high revs but that's lost its ability to get into gear when it needs to. The end result is that the fat cells eventually take up more fat than they can get rid of," explains Rydén.

He says the results now need to be corroborated in larger studies and for men.

We hope to develop a clinically expedient way of identifying individuals at risk of developing overweight and type 2 diabetes, who might need more intensive lifestyle intervention than others to stay healthy.”

Professor Mikael Rydén

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally has a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Sciences (B.Sc.). She is a specialist in reviewing and summarising the latest findings across all areas of medicine covered in major, high-impact, world-leading international medical journals, international press conferences and bulletins from governmental agencies and regulatory bodies. At News-Medical, Sally generates daily news features, life science articles and interview coverage.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2019, June 19). Weight gain may be the result of inefficient fat metabolism. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 09, 2020 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180531/Weight-gain-may-be-the-result-of-inefficient-fat-metabolism.aspx.

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Weight gain may be the result of inefficient fat metabolism". News-Medical. 09 July 2020. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180531/Weight-gain-may-be-the-result-of-inefficient-fat-metabolism.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Weight gain may be the result of inefficient fat metabolism". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180531/Weight-gain-may-be-the-result-of-inefficient-fat-metabolism.aspx. (accessed July 09, 2020).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2019. Weight gain may be the result of inefficient fat metabolism. News-Medical, viewed 09 July 2020, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180531/Weight-gain-may-be-the-result-of-inefficient-fat-metabolism.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
You might also like... ×
Drug Teixobactin shows promise against drug-resistant superbugs