Newswise â€” A new study in mice indicates that overeating, rather than the obesity it causes, is the trigger for developing metabolic syndrome, a collection of heath risk factors that increases an individual’s chances of developing insulin resistance, fatty liver, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
How and where the body stores excess, unused calories appears to matter most when determining a person’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center suggest.
“Most people today think that obesity itself causes metabolic syndrome,” said Dr. Roger Unger, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. “We’re ingrained to think obesity is the cause of all health problems, when in fact it is the spillover of fat into organs other than fat cells that damages these organs, such as the heart and the liver. Depositing fatty molecules in fat cells where they belong actually delays that harmful spillover.”