Why people gain weight as they get older?

This could open up new ways to treat obesity.


Prior studies have shown that the excess body fat is associated with decreased adipose lipid removal rates. excess body fat is associated with decreased adipose lipid removal rates.

In a new study, scientists uncovered that the lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases during ageing and makes it easier to gain weight, even if we don’t eat more or exercise less than before.

The study, conducted by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, involved 54 men and women participants. Scientists then studied the participants over an average period of 13 years.

During that time, all subjects, regardless of whether they put on orlost weight, showed decreases in lipid turnover in the fat tissue, that is the rate at which lipid (or fat) in the fat cells is removed or stored. The individuals who didn’t make up for that by eating less calories put on weight by an average of 20 percent.

Scientists also examined lipid turnover in 41 women who underwent bariatric surgery and how the lipid turnover rate affected their ability to keep the weight off four to seven years after surgery. The result showed that only those who had a low rate before the surgery managed to increase their lipid turnover and maintain their weight loss. The researchers believe these people may have had more room to increase their lipid turnover than those who already had a high-level pre-surgery.

Peter Arner, professor at the Department of Medicine in Huddinge at Karolinska Institutet and one of the study’s main authors said, “The results indicate for the first time that processes in our fat tissue regulate changes in body weight during ageing in a way that is independent of other factors. This could open up new ways to treat obesity.”

This new research supports that idea and further shows that the long-term result of weight loss surgery would improve if combined with increased physical activity.

Kirsty Spalding, senior researcher at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Karolinska Institutet and another of the study’s main authors said, “Obesity and obesity-related diseases have become a global problem. Understanding lipid dynamics and what regulates the size of the fat mass in humans has never been more relevant.”

The study was funded by the Stockholm County Council, the Swedish Research Council, the Strategic Research Program for Diabetes at Karolinska Institutet, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Swedish Diabetes Foundation, Karolinska Institutet-Astra Zeneca Integrated Cardiometabolic Center, the Vallee Foundation, the Swedish Society of Medicine, the Erling-Persson Family foundation and IXXI.

The study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

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