Monday, May 5, 2008

Blame it on your Fat Cells

You have huffed and you have puffed, You have tried Atkins's diet, Dash diet , fruit diet, vegetable Diet, Israeli diet and other exotic weight loss methods, yet the layers always pile back up. Finally you can say it is not your fault, Blame it on your fat cells.

The number of fat cells you have remains the same no matter what you do.

No amount of dieting will alter the number of fat-hoarding cells in our bodies, research has suggested. Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden say that the number is set during adolescence and stays the same, regardless of obesity later in life.

The journal Nature reports how they tested patients who lost huge amounts of weight, and found little change in fat cell numbers.

The rising rate of obesity means that a lot of scientific attention is focused on the "adipocyte", the cell type which makes up the bulk of our bellies and waistlines.(I always knew there was something to blame out there...damn you "adipocytes")

When we are getting fatter, these cells are actually expanding in size, but experts did not know for certain whether this was the only thing happening, or whether the numbers of adipocytes(fat cells) could go up and down as well.

If the latter was happening, then in theory, losing weight could actually reduce the number of fat cells in the body.

The Swedish researcher first tested several hundred children, adolescents and adults of various ages and found that while fat cell numbers increased through childhood, by the time adulthood was reached, the number of cells stayed the same.

They then tested the possibility that fat cell numbers could change in extreme circumstances by taking samples of fat from patients about to undergo radical weight loss.

Some of the patients were about to undergo "gastric banding", a last resort operation designed to help very obese patients lose weight by reducing the size of the stomach.

Once the weight loss was complete, another sample of fat was taken to assess if the overall number of fat cells had decreased.

The researchers found that the level of fat cells had stayed the same, and lead researcher Dr Kirsty Spalding said this finding confirmed the bad news for dieters.

"It explains why it's so difficult to lose weight and to keep it off - those fat cells aren't going anywhere, and they're crying out for more."

It would be nice if we could find a way to lose fat by manipulating the numbers of fat cells, but there a lot of other options higher up the queue than that - such as diet and exercise.

The real benefit of this is that it gives us solid evidence that we can use in future research into obesity and its causes.

Don't you wish you had not chewed on all that candy, burgers and junk food while growing up. It could have kept the number of fat cells in your body under check. Too late now, you better hit the gym and throw that cheese burger in the trash.

Source: BBC

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