We may be getting it wrong about obesity and being overweight. It isn't always a danger to our health - in fact, it may protect against diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Leading medical researcher Roger Unger of the University of Texas says that obesity plays a key role in protecting us from a range of diseases - such as insulin resistance, high cholesterol, fatty liver, diabetes, heart disease and stroke - that collectively are known as metabolic syndrome. Obesity is the body's way of storing lipids in fat tissue, where they belong, in order to protect our other organs from their toxic effects. It all goes wrong when we eat too many calories - usually from fast and junk food - and the stored lipids are released into the rest of our body, and cause disease, says Unger. Because of our diets, metabolic syndrome is becoming an epidemic. It's not that our metabolism doesn't function properly, it's more that the pathways that help store fats become overwhelmed. (Source: Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2010; published March 9, 2010).