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“Our discovery may help explain why overweight individuals find it incredibly hard to lose weight. Their stored fat is actively fighting against their efforts to burn it off at the molecular level.” Dr. Andrew J. Whittle, University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories, November 24, 2015

“Losing weight steadily and gradually is the safest approach and the weight is much more likely to stay off.” Victoria Taylor, British Heart Foundation dietitian

Stored Fat Fights Fat Loss

The fatter we are, the more our body appears to produce a protein, known as sLR11, that inhibits our ability to burn fat, researchers from Cambridge University (UK) and Toho University (Japan) reported November 20, 2015, in the journal Nature Communication.

The researchers found that mice lacking the gene for the expression of sLR11, are far more resistant to weight gain. All mice (and humans) increase their metabolic rate slightly when switched from a lower calorie diet to a higher calorie diet, but mice lacking the gene responded with a much greater increase in metabolic rate, meaning that they were able to burn calories faster.

When the researchers examined levels of the protein in humans, they found that levels circulating in the blood correlated with total fat mass—in other words, the greater the levels of the protein, the higher the total fat mass. In addition, when obese patients underwent bariatric surgery, their degree of postoperative weight loss was directly proportional to the reduction in sLR11 levels, suggesting that the protein is produced by fat cells.

Dr Andrew Whittle, joint first author, said: “Our discovery may help explain why overweight individuals find it incredibly hard to lose weight. Their stored fat is actively fighting against their efforts to burn it off at the molecular level."

Professor Antonio Vidal-Puig, a senior researcher, added: “We have found an important mechanism that could be targeted not just to help increase people’s ability to burn fat, but also help people with conditions where saving energy is important such as anorexia nervosa.”

Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which helped fund the research, said: “This research could stimulate the development of new drugs that either help reduce obesity, by blocking the action of this protein, or control weight loss by mimicking its action. Based on this promising discovery, we look forward to the Cambridge team’s future findings.

“But an effective medicine to treat obesity, which safely manages weight loss is still some way off,” he continued. “In the meantime people can find advice on healthy ways to lose weight and boost their heart health on the BHF website.”

“Losing weight steadily and gradually is the safest approach and the weight is much more likely to stay off,” dietitian Victoria Taylor counseled on the BHF site.  

You’ll find more details at Cambridge University Research: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/stored-fat-fights-against-the-bodys-attempts-to-lose-weight

For the entire study with tables, charts, and color slides: http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms9951

My Take

This finding may help to explain why people with low body fat can feast on holidays without gaining weight. They eat healthy most of the time and burn off the excess calories. It also comports with Harvard Professor David Ludwig’s claim that fat cells play a key role in weight control.

“Our fat cells have been programmed to grow,” Professor Ludwig tells us, “and that has made us overeat.”

The new study confirms that fat cells fight fat loss. The more fat cells we have, the fatter we are likely to become.

The Whittle team uncovered one of the mechanisms the body employs to hold onto stored energy, preventing excess from being wasted. That made sense in times when food was in short supply. In modern times, with calorie intake assured and activity level low, it simply serves to pile on fat. Our ancient ancestors survived hard times—while we add more and more fat.

With drugs a pipe dream in the foreseeable future, what can we do to help ourselves now?

Eating high quality foods that keep our fat cells satisfied may be the solution (along with regular exercise).

Forget Calories. Focus on Quality. Let your body do the rest. So simple and so powerful.

“As the body begins to enjoy better access to fuel, metabolism runs better, hunger and craving subside, and weight loss occurs naturally” Ludwig explains. “It’s diet without deprivation.”

It also squares with the BHF advisory to lose weight steadily and gradually. 

The program calls for whole, natural, slow-digesting foods. That’s important, because that kind of food is satisfying and stays with you longer. It fills you up without overshooting your energy needs. It calms your brain—and allows your fat cells to give up excess fat.

That formula has worked wonderfully well for Carol and me. It explains why we eat our fill at holiday meals—year after year—without gaining weight.

Photo by Laszlo Bencze


For many more details, see Unlock Your Fat Cells: http://www.cbass.com/unlockfatcells.htm

January 1, 2017