Even if we don’t eat more or exercise less than we used to, we all have difficulty controlling our weight as we age. Research at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has uncovered why lipid turnover in fatty tissue decreases with age and facilitates weight gain and how to prevent it.
The turnover of lipids in adipose tissue is less with age
Scientists studied the fat cells of 54 men and women over an average period of 13 years. During this period, all subjects, whether they gained or lost weight, showed a decrease in the rate of lipid turnover in adipose tissue, that is, the rate at which lipids (or fat) in the fat cells are removed and stored.
According to the study carried out in collaboration with researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden and the University of Lyon in France, those who did not compensate for this by eating fewer calories gained 20% weight on average. .
Even after bariatric surgery: maintaining weight is not gained
The researchers also looked at lipid turnover rate in 41 women who had bariatric surgery and how lipid turnover rate affected their ability to maintain weight four to seven years after surgery.
The result showed that only those who had a low rate before surgery were able to increase their lipid replacement rate and maintain their weight loss. The researchers believe that these people may have had more leeway to increase their lipid turnover rate than those who had already undergone high-level pre-surgery.
Regulation of changes in body weight
“The results indicate for the first time that processes in our adipose tissue regulate changes in body weight during aging, and do so independently of other factors,” says Peter Arner, Professor in the Department of Medicine at Huddinge. from the Karolinska Institute and one of the main authors of the study. “This could open up new avenues for treating obesity.
To avoid gaining weight with age: the key role of physical activity
Previous studies have shown that one of the ways to speed up the turnover of lipids in fatty tissue is to exercise more. This new research supports this notion and further indicates that the long-term outcome of weight loss surgery would improve if combined with increased physical activity.
Arner: Adipose lipid turnover and long-term changes in body weight. Nature Medicine DOI: 10.1038/s41591-019-0565-5
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