Lose weight by gaining fat – WTF???
By Wayne Du, Class of 2020.
Before COVID19 hit Melbourne resulting in our countless number of lockdowns, I had so many good habits, including a healthy routine that involved going for a run every morning before heading off to uni. However, since March 2020, I have found myself a new routine, one that I cannot say I am much proud of.
It goes like this:
Wake up → Breakfast → Snack → Lunch → Snack → Dinner → Dessert → Snack → Gain Weight → Cry → Sleep → Repeat
This whole time I’ve been saying to myself: “It’s ok! Once we get through this nightmare, I’ll go back to my healthy routine.” But then I wonder, what if I don’t? What if I continue down this road? Slowly, my jokes about weight gain during quarantine will no longer be funny and will become a serious issue.
This brings me to obesity. Obesity is a serious disease that affects over 2 billion people worldwide. The most dangerous part of obesity is that it will lead to a host of other problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, depression, and liver disease to name a few.
Scientists have been trying to prevent the prevalence of obesity over the last decade through diet, exercise, and even medications. Recent studies have found a new way that could deal with obesity, which is through fat transplantation. What? Fat? But isn’t that what we are trying to get rid of?
Yes, fat is what we are trying to get rid of, but more specifically, we want to get rid of one particular kind of fat – white fat.
There is more than one type of fat in our body, of which includes white fat and brown fat. White fat is what we have a love-hate relationship with. We want it to go away during summer to be ‘beach body’ ready, but we also need it to store energy and provide us with strength for when we are hungry and have no access to food. On the other hand, brown fat’s role is not to store energy, but rather to burn it, and it may be the key to weight loss.
With the use of gene technology, scientists have found a way to turn white fat cells into a cell that has similar features to brown fat, in which it can burn energy. They have given these the name – HUMBLE (HUMan Brown-LikE) fat cells. To see if HUMBLE fat cells can treat obesity, scientists have transplanted these cells into obese mice and have observed that the mice became leaner with longer lifespans.
But wait! There’s more good news! HUMBLE fat cells can not only burn energy and have the potential to help those suffering from obesity people but can also lower blood sugar levels. This can in turn potentially treat the 422 million people with type 2 diabetes in the world.
I wish I could give you good news and say that any weight you might have gained over quarantine is brown fat, but unfortunately, the chances aren’t high. While scientists are making promising discoveries on how to deal with obesity, it is still important to keep up with your own health. Go out for a walk when you can, don’t let quarantine bring you down.