While many people want to be rid of most of their fat tissue, it actually plays an important role in the human body. Its primary function is to efficiently store energy for later use so that we don’t need to constantly eat in order to go about our lives. It can also serve as a cushion against impact and insulate us from the cold, and recent research shows that it plays an extensive role in our various metabolic and endocrine (hormonal) functions. This role is still being explored.
Excess stored fat increases significantly as we age. We become less active as we get older, partially due to an increase in life responsibilities but also due to the deterioration of our joints and muscles. Our metabolism also independently slows as we get older. While some people manage to maintain their bodies’ composition as they age, their bodies certainly do not do them any favors. The physical, hormonal, and metabolic changes of fat tissue are likely to compound these effects. Excess fat has been shown to accelerate a number of aging pathways, resulting in an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, dementia, and cardiovascular disease.