Why do we gain more weight as we age?


It's frustrating fact that it's harder to lose weight as we get older. ISTOCK
It's frustrating fact that it's harder to lose weight as we get older. ISTOCK
Many people struggle to keep their weight down as they age. Now, new research may have explained why that is.

A new published study in Nature Medicine claims to have identified why we find it harder to lose weight as we get older.

Even when maintaining a healthy, balanced diet that’s supported by regular exercise, the majority of people struggle to keep the weight off as they age.

It’s a frustrating truth for many people who find they can’t lose weight – and in some cases simply gain more weight – despite following the same regimens, diets and healthy habits they’ve been following all their lives.

Read more:
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Seven ways to make exercise a daily priority

But now, new research from Sweden finally points to why that is.

As we age, a natural development occurs whereby lipid turnover in our fat tissue decreases.

This directly inhibits our ability to lose decrease our fat stores and, in turn, drop weight.

An experiment that was conducted at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden examined the fat tissue cells of 54 people over the course of 13 years.

Over that time, every subject illustrated a drop in their lipid turnover in their fat tissue – i.e. the rate at which lipids in the fat cells are removed and stored. 

Those who failed to compensate for that and didn’t consume any fewer calories experienced weight gain 20 per cent of the time.

“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,” says Peter Arner, professor at the Department of Medicine in Huddinge at Karolinska Institutet and one of the study’s main authors.

“This could open up new ways to treat obesity,” he added.

“Obesity and obesity-related diseases have become a global problem,” says Kirsty Spalding, senior researcher at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Karolinska Institutet and another of the study’s main authors.

“Understanding lipid dynamics and what regulates the size of the fat mass in humans has never been more relevant,” she said.



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