Do you want to hear the good news first? There has been yet another breakthrough in the battle of the flab. Your fat cells or at least 10% of your fat cells die every year, irrespective of how your body behaved during the whole year, losing weight or gaining weight. This happens in individuals who are thin as well as those that are fat. That must make obese people happy. However, now comes the next bit of news.
Researchers have discovered that new fat cells take the place of the cells that die almost immediately. People eventually, end up having the same number of fat cells in the body all through the adulthood. When a person gains weight or loses weight, the fat in the cells dies and not the number of cells. That means that every person has a fixed number of fat cells in the body.
Researchers always knew that fat cells in humans die and are replaced, but they never know how long it took and they never expected it to be this fast.
This finding was revealed in the Nature journal. Researchers are perplexed with the number of questions this study raises, such as what determines the number of fat cells in a person’s body and if there is a way to reduce the number of cells by the time people reached adulthood. Another question is, if obesity can be treated by making these fat cells die faster than the new ones are born.
Obesity researchers say that this finding changes the way obesity is looked at. For now, although they have no answers to these questions, they are working on it, to reach the system that is waiting to be discovered.
Their study raises another most important question, why do some people who have always been thin, gain a lot of weight when they reach adulthood?
This study was specifically focused on people who had always been fat since their childhood, which is usually what happens with most obese adults. They feel that the situation may be different for people who got fat as they entered adulthood and were thin as youngsters. Such people may actually be growing new fat cells, since the ones they had were filled with fat and there was no place for more.
Another question is whether the fat cells removed with liposuction grow back. Swedish researchers are investigating both these questions.
Some researchers say that the solution lies in stopping new cells from forming that fast, but letting the old cells die at the same speed. This way, there will be a reduction in the total number of cells. By doubling the rate of death and halving the rate of new cell formation, fat mass can be significantly changed.
However, some are of the opinion that it is not as easy as that and even if they did find out how the fat cells in our bodies worked, it still remains to be seen how safe it is to treat obesity by intervening.
Lester Salans, an obesity researcher says, “I suspect that the body’s regulation of weight is so complex that if you intervene at this site, something else is going to happen to neutralize this intervention.”
They say that if fat in the body does not have enough cells to reside in, there is the danger of it wandering off to other places in the body and this could cause immense damage.
Although, this study brings to light a lot of facts that make the researchers excited, the questions that remain unanswered make it slightly disappointing and they continue to work on finding answers.
Meanwhile, if there is one thing that all experts do agree upon is that the best way to lose excess weight is to eat less and exercise more. Following this extremely simple and most well-known strategy, people may achieve their desired weight by the time we get some answers.