It seems that there are two distinct kinds of fats cells — one healthy, and one unhealthy — and they function in very different ways. When a healthy fat cell gets "full" of fat, it just stops storing it, and in turn, the body creates new fat cells to help store that excess fat. But, in the bodies of the unhealthy obese, the fat cells don't know when to stop storing. The New York Times reports, "The fat cells of the unhealthy obese swell to their breaking point, straining the cellular machinery and ultimately dying off."
This "dying off" ultimately leads to inflammation and to the body shuttling the fat to places it's not supposed to be, like internal organs.
In the "healthy" obese, the fat just stays where it's meant to — as a layer of padding just beneath the skin. While this study only begins to scratch the surface of the differences in fat storage, it's a fascinating discovery into how our bodies work. As with much in life, not all fat cells are created equal. (The New York Timesl)