Storing fat: Your mind probably shuddered at the words! But there’s more to this idea than meets the eye. There are important considerations both for and against storing fat. And it starts with our body’s need for energy.
Your body requires energy for everything it does, even things that happen while you appear to be at rest. For example:
- regulating hormones,
- circulating blood,
- digesting food to create more energy, and
- cell growth.
Energy is measured in calories. If you eat more calories than your body can immediately metabolize into energy, your body does an amazing thing. It turns the calories into fat so that they can be used in the future.
Storing Fat Isn’t Always Bad
Fat gets a bad rap. Your body was made to store fat. It excels at storing fat so that you have plenty of energy beyond the amount of stored glucose your muscles and liver can hold.
The reason for this is that your muscles and liver can only store a limited amount of glycogen. Your brain consumes 20 percent of your energy. So if you don’t eat enough, you start to run out of energy and your brain doesn’t work so well. This is where your fat storage units come in. Your body has an unlimited ability to store sugar as fat that it can then break down when needed and use as energy.
Way back in time, you had to be able to go for long periods without eating food – whether from famine or because it can take time to hunt down the next meal. During those times, your body lived off of fat stores. That’s because your muscles and liver can only store about a day’s worth of energy whereas your body can store around a month’s worth of energy as fat.
This ability to store long-term energy reserves as fat was essential for human survival at a time when food was scarce. Times have changed! You can now stop and grab a cheap burger and a sugar-laden soda at a drive-thru in nearly every city in America. This ability can cause serious problems.
And those problems stem from being overweight or obese. Although body fat storage is essential for nutrient absorption, and is responsible for insulating your organs, having too much body fat can lead to chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and back pain.
So – in answer to our question: “Can you stop your body storing fat?” you’re out of luck. Your life depends on it.
However, even though you can’t prevent your body from storing fat, you can decrease fat storage to a healthy amount. Your quality of life could depend on that too.
If you already know you’d like our help and support to keep body fat to a healthy amount, call us today on (405) 266-5011 and make an appointment.
Otherwise, let’s add a bit more detail to the idea of fat storage.
How Does the Body Store Fat?
Food contains many nutrients, including glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids. When you eat food, it travels into your intestines. Your intestine is smart. When it realizes that these nutrients have entered, it sends a message to your pancreas and stimulates the pancreas to secrete a hormone called insulin.
Insulin’s job is to interact with various cells in your body, especially those in your muscle, liver, and fat tissue. Insulin tells these cells to:
- Absorb fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids
- Cease the breakdown of glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids
- Start transforming glucose into glycogen; glycerol and fatty acids into fats (triglycerides); and glycerol amino acids into proteins.
Your body then absorbs fatty acids from the blood into its fat cells, muscle cells, and liver cells. Insulin then stimulates these cells to convert fatty acids into fat molecules and store them as fat droplets.
When your body absorbs glucose and amino acids into the bloodstream after a meal, these too can also be converted into fat molecules. A fat cell will always grab fat and store it in preference to carbohydrates because fat is easier to store.
As we said earlier, essential fat is required for optimal health.
When you take in more calories than you burn, your body will store them as body fat. Some of this fat is essential fat. It helps your body absorb vitamins and regulate temperature. In pregnant women, essential fats are necessary to carry a healthy baby to term.
Too much body fat is risky.
Having no body fat would be detrimental to your health, but on the other hand, too much body fat can pose health risks. It’s a balancing act. The risks increase or decrease depending on where your body fat is stored.
Where Is Your Body Storing Fat?
Fat distribution happens in a number of places. If excess body fat is stored in the stomach, it can get packed around your vital organs and cause conditions like Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. Fat stored in the abdomen is called visceral fat and is more likely to stack up in men than women.
Women tend to store excess fat in their hips, butts, and thighs. This type of excess fat is not as detrimental to your health as stomach fat because it’s subcutaneous, meaning that it lies directly under your skin.
Other areas that both men and women store excess fat are:
- Calves (so-called cankles – because it gives the appearance of not having ankles!)
- Sides of the abdomen (love handles)
- Chest (man boobs)
How to Slow Down Fat Storage
If you’re not overweight or obese, don’t try to stop your body from storing fat. However, if you’re overweight or obese, it’s crucial that you help your body to slow down the storage of excess calories as fat.
What Foods Increase Fat Storage?
You may be surprised to learn that the answer to this question isn’t necessarily fatty foods. Sugar and refined carbs are the main culprits here. So, if you want to decrease the amount of fat your body stores, you’ll need to reduce or avoid sugars and refined carbs and replace them with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
In addition, if you need to lose weight or fat, then cutting out the sugars – and the refined carbs that turn into sugars – will encourage your body to use fat as energy. The more you build this “fat-burning muscle”, the better your body gets at metabolizing fat. It will eventually burn excess fat stored away, as well as the fat you consume for energy.
But Fat Storage Isn’t Just About What You Eat
Fat storage naturally increases as you age, and studies have associated it with changes in hormones and metabolism. As your metabolism slows down, your hormones change the way they communicate, which can lead to increased fat storage.
Want to Turn Your Body Into a Fat-Burning Machine?
We’ve seen that burning fat, weight loss, and weight management aren’t just about counting calories. To effectively get to your target weight, you’ll need to work with an expert to uncover the underlying cause of your weight problems and create a customized treatment plan.
At the Lamkin Clinic, we do investigatory labs to determine what’s causing your body to gain fat. This will include a deep dive into your diet, lifestyle, sleep habits, activity and exercise, hormones, and metabolic markers.
We’ll collaborate with you every step of the way to create a custom plan to reverse metabolic problems and optimize your hormones for longevity and health.
Don’t let another day go by without feeling your best. Schedule your consultation, and let’s create a plan together!