How body fat impacts health and aging

How body fat impacts health and aging


As we age, the distribution of our body fat changes, particularly around menopause.  

Most people think of body fat as bad, but fat tissue plays a number of hugely important roles in our health.

In today’s episode of ZOE Science and Nutrition, Jonathan is joined by Dr. Sarah Berry and Prof. Deborah Clegg. Together, they debunk the myth that fat is bad, enlighten us about why body fat is distributed where it is, and explore the differences in fat distribution between men and women. 

Deborah Clegg is a professor and Vice President for Research at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso. Her research focuses on sex differences in metabolism, adipose tissue, and the brain and the impact this has on our health. Dr. Sarah Berry is one of the world's leading experts on human nutrition. She has run more than 20 randomized clinical trials looking at how humans respond to different fats.

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00:00 Intro

04:00 What is body fat?

06:32 What is healthy fat?

07:52 Female vs male body fat

11:56 Why is belly fat the most unhealthy?

19:43 Waist to hip ratio

21:24 How estrogen affects fat distribution

27:41 Perimenopause symptoms

31:01 Fat cells producing estrogen

36:00 Hunger the menopause

38:46 Weight gain and the menopause

40:54 Physical changes in men

42:28 Exercise and fat distribution 

43:26 What to eat during menopause

46:37 Estrogen supplements

Mentioned in today’s episode: 

The evolutionary impact and influence of oestrogens on adipose tissue structure and function from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 2023

Menopause is associated with postprandial metabolism, metabolic health and lifestyle: The ZOE PREDICT study from EBioMedicine 2022 

Episode transcripts are available here.

Is there a nutrition topic you’d like us to explore? Email us at, and we’ll do our best to cover it. 

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