Immature Fat Cells - Preadipocytes
Let's start with adipocytes - fat cells. These are the cells in your body that store your fat for future use. We are generally born with a certain number of fat cells and use those through our lives (with exceptions). If we maintain a healthy weight, we do well.
But let's say we instead eat an unhealthy diet and become obese. The body fills up all those fat cells it has access to. It's running out of room to store that fat. It's like a hoarder nightmare house, with more stuff coming in and nowhere to put it.
Luckily, the body has a safety net. It has preadipocytes. Don't they sound cute? Little baby fat cells. Normally they don't do anything at all. They just hang out in your body. But if your body's storage system is creaking with strain because there is just too much fat in the existing adult fat cells, the preadipocytes are mobilized into action. They are turned into adult fat cells and put to work storing fat. Now you suddenly have more fat cells in action than you did before! And that's not a good thing. Your body gets even heavier as all of that fat is neatly stored away for future use.
Fat cells are not just "stagnant" in your system. Their presence impacts your body. For example, fat cells release estrogen. The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen your body is flooded with, which has a wealth of impacts on your body systems.
Fat cells also release adipokines - hormones which have an impact on cell growth. This has been linked to cancer.
So, to summarize, you don't want to activate any of those immature preadipocytes and cause your overall active fat cell count to increase. You want to keep it at its current level. And the key to that is to ensure you don't have more fat-based weight gain.
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