from science daily
The collection of symptoms that is the metabolic syndrome — insulin resistance, high cholesterol, fatty liver, and a greater risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke — are all related to obesity, but, according to a review in the March 9th issue of Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, not in the way you probably think they are.
In fact, says Roger Unger of the University of Texas Southwestern at Dallas, obesity is the body’s way of storing lipids where they belong, in fat tissue, in an effort to protect our other organs from lipids’ toxic effects. It’s when the surplus of calories coming in gets to be too much for our fat tissue to handle that those lipids wind up in other places they shouldn’t be, and the cascade of symptoms known as metabolic syndrome sets in.
Unger cites plenty of evidence in support of a protective role for obesity. Genetic manipulations in mice that increase or decrease fat formation have provided evidence that adipogenesis, meaning the generation of fat cells, delays other metabolic consequences of overeating. The reverse is also true, he writes. Obesity-resistant mice have in some cases been found to develop severe diabetes upon eating too much, as a result of lipid accumulation in tissues other than fat.