Wednesday, June 04, 2008


It starts with ectopic lipid deposition. Don't you just hate that--looking for fat in all the wrong places...and finding it? But we're not talking thighs, waists, and back ends here, but rather heart, muscles, liver, and pancreas.

Researchers theorize that our overconsumption of lipid-rich foods results in oversecretion of insulin. As a result, our livers produce too much sterol response element binding protein 1c (you might know it as SREBP-1c) which results in that organ gearing up to take those extra calories and turn them into fat molecules called triglycerides. Great gobs of these calorie-dense triglycerides then float through the bloodstream on their way to some storage depot where they will sit waiting for the coming famine that never comes. It's merely annoying to wear the extra fat in rolls about your waist, but it's downright toxic to stow them in your heart, muscles, liver, and pancreas.

Ectopic fat, i.e. triglycerides stored in all the wrong places, results in a world of metabolic trouble with a capital T that rhymes with D that stands for diabetes. Once in muscle cells, the fatty acids cause the muscle tissue (our biggest bodily consumer of sugar) to resist the actions of insulin, thus preventing the uptake of sugar out of the bloodstream and into these cells.

Fat stowed in pancreatic cells further amplifies this metabolic mess by killing off the very cells that make insulin. When the human body goes one Big Mac over the line, therefore, we not only eat fat but our liver makes more fat, our muscles become insulin resistant, and our pancreas are rendered less able to make more insulin.

Too much fat in, too much fat made, too much fat stowed in the wrong places. The lipotoxic effects of overeating, the lipocentric theory of diabetes. Two lessons: 1) Don't ignore the high triglyceride levels on lab panels--they're a huge red flag that you're on the way to diabetes, and 2) Don't discount the enormous value of any weight loss, even a little, with respect to preventing and treating diabetes.


kenju said...

I know you're right. I'm trying so hard to get motivated, but my appetite is growing and while I seldom used to eat dessert, I seem to want it every night now.

KGMom said...

Duly chastened. I will not over indulge, I will not over indulge, I will not. . .

kenju said...

Thanks for the visit! The word "embiggen" was coined by Carmi Levy of Written Inc.

Find it here: