Bad Fat Could Save Your Life

We’ve all heard over and over again that we should eat more good fat and less bad fat, but what does this actually mean? There are two types of fat in the human body, brown fat aka good fat, and white fat aka bad fat.  These fats are so called as brown fat is better at burning calories than white fat, which is typically stored around the waist, thighs and bottom. However, very recently scientists have come up with the idea that white fat could save lives.  Many people who have cancer also develop cachexia, a wasting disease that causes significant weight loss in people not trying to lose weight through diet or exercise. This is caused by white fat turning into brown fat, something that would be useful in people with heart disease or diabetes but not so good in people with cancer. A large amount of research has gone into how to activate the transition from white fat to brown fat, and it was studying this mechanism that a deeper understanding of cachexia was formed. A study using a mouse model of cancer cachexia identified a specific protein which they believed to be the cause. By neutralising this protein the cachexia was alleviated but not totally eliminated, suggesting other factors are in play.  Scientists believe that in the near future it will be possible to stop cachexia occurring, and are optimistic that a treatment can be developed, improving the survival rate of cancer sufferers.

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Naomi

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