In the perennial classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey (played by James Stewart) wishes that he had never been born - until an angel shows him what life would have been like if his wish was granted. Like George, many of us have wished we could completely erase a part of our life – fat. As the old saying goes, however, be careful what you wish for. As George Bailey knows, you don’t know how important something is until it’s gone; believe it or not, fat is very important indeed.
Fat cells, also known as adipose tissue, play an important role in the function of our bodies. It’s a role scientists are only beginning to understand. For years it’s been thought that fat’s primary function was as energy storage. This capability evolved because our evolutionary ancestors might have gone quite a bit of time between large meals. Fat cells keep the energy from those meals safe and then release it as it’s needed by the body. Without fat, we would need a constant supply of food to meet our energy needs. Of course, in today’s world, where food is readily available, this function of fat is what causes us problems. If the fat cells never need to release energy, they simply grow larger and, well, fatter.
It used to be thought the energy storage was the only important role that fat cells play. It turns out, however, that the adipose tissue controls much more of our bodily functions then we ever could have imagined. For instance, these amazing cells also:
• Control how active the immune system is;
• Help regulate blood flow and blood clots;
• Play house mother and tell the body when it is the proper time to reproduce.
So you can see that life without fat cells would be a completely different kind of existence. We need this amazing tissue; we just don’t need so much of it. This is why it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of exercise, and yes, consider liposuction as a way to get these fabulous little cells under control.