Fats called ceramides build up in cells, damage mitochondria and lead to obesity and diabetes, says a BYU researcher. By inhibiting ceramide, Benjamin Bikman reports that they could prevent weight gain and diabetes in animal models, even when animals were given high-fat, high-sugar diets. Bikman reports that ceramide causes long, connected strands of mitochondria to separate and the smaller damaged mitochondria aren’t as efficient at burning energy (which leads to weight gain). Although no ceramide inhibitor is currently available for humans, Bikman says diet and exercise have also been shown to inhibit ceramide.