Why do we gain weight?
The balance that exists between the amount of calories found in the food we eat and the amount of energy our body needs to carry out all of the activities we do every day, will determine our body weight.
Excess weight occurs when we consume more calories than the energy our body uses, and is characterized by excess “energy reserves” which accumulate as fat in the fatty tissues of the body. Sometimes people can gain weight due to problems with some endocrine glands.
Excess calories due to triglycerides cause fat cells or adipocytes to increase in size, this is called cell Hypertrophy. Each fat cell or adipocyte can grow up to 5 times its normal size. Moreover, each fat cell, or adipocyte can create up to 5 new adipocytes, this is known as Hyperplasia.
Excess fat cells (adipocytes), especially in the abdominal area or waist, can damage the endothelial tissue which lines the internal arterial walls, leading them to produce less nitric oxide, which keeps arteries toned, smooth and flexible. Less nitric oxide production will damage the arterial walls, making them stiff and sticky which facilitates bad cholesterol (LDL) to adhere to them, forming atheromatous plaques, leading to a condition known as Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a very severe condition that can cause irreversible damage to the arteries and organs connected to them, which includes heart attacks and strokes.
The more overweight we are, the harder it’ll be to reach our ideal weight again, as adipocytes, which increase in size, can shrink slowly, but the amount of new adipocytes that form in the adipose tissue can’t decrease. This is why it’s advisable to always be very aware of our body weight, so we don’t wait until we’ve gained a lot of pounds before we take all the necessary actions that will allow us lose those extra pounds we gained.