The link between obesity and diabetes has been significantly documented, but a recent study has revealed that certain types of fats might actually reduce the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
Subcutaneous fat, which is fat normally found below the skin in the hips and thighs, appears to have an inverse relationship to the development of insulin resistance and increases insulin sensitivity. Past research has shown that obesity, primarily characterized by large levels of fats in the belly and abdomen, greatly increases the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
The main purpose of the study was to discover whether abdominal fats being linked to insulin resistance was due to “anatomic location”, or whether these fats were intrinsically different. To test this, subcutaneous fats were transplanted to the abdomen of mice, and abdominal fats were transplanted to subcutaneous and other fat regions.
The results showed that for subcutaneous fats transplanted to the abdomen, “there was a decrease in body weight, fat mass, glucose and insulin levels and an improvement in insulin sensitivity.” Adversely, “transplantation of abdominal fat into either the abdominal or subcutaneous area had no effect.”
Study author Dr. Ronald Kahn concludes that “It was the kind of fat that was the most important variable. Even more surprising, it wasn’t that abdominal fat was exerting negative effects, but that subcutaneous fat was producing a good effect. Animals with more subcutaneous fat didn’t gain as much weight as they aged, had better insulin sensitivity, lower insulin levels and were improved all around.”
The surprising result opens new possibilities for understanding and treating insulin resistance and related conditions. An understanding of how subcutaneous fats have these positive effects could lead to the development of medications that utilize the positive subcutaneous fat compounds.
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Jastive, Kira. Kuhn, Ronald. Cell Metabolism news release. May 20