Monday, March 24, 2014

Prolonged sitting may actually cause your fat cells to expand...mechanically

We all know that people need to sit down less and move around more.  When most people think about the reason why sitting all day will cause their butt to get bigger, they break it down to burning too few calories and taking in too many.  There are actually quite a few reasons why this happens, many that have to do with genes.  Researchers just found a new one that may seem a little cooky.

By analyzing the way cells respond to forces applied to them, researchers were able to determine that when fat cells are exposed to chronic pressure, they begin to accumulate lipid droplets at an accelerated rate.  In layman's terms, this means that sitting on your butt all day long will cause the fat cells located there to grow bigger due the weight you are putting on them, not just because you are eating more calories than you are burning.  This is in direct contrast to the effect sitting has on muscle and bone cells, which causes a reduction in those cells.

Other environmental factors are at play here. In this blog I discuss how prolonged periods of sedentary behavior create environmental changes within the body that cause your cells to change in a way that promotes higher blood glucose, triglycerides, inflammation, and other changes that are associated with obesity.  As you can see, people become obese for many reasons, not just because they eat more calories than they burn.  They are promoting an environment that causes their cells to respond in a way that makes that person obese.  Energy balance certainly has a place at the table in this discussion, but it doesn't have the only place.  Looks like we can add a place for prolonged physical loading at the table now too.