T Nation

Fat Truth: Fat Cells

Is it true that once you get a little fat you have a certain number of fat cells and you cant get rid of them only shrink them?

[quote]bigdude wrote:
Is it true that once you get a little fat you have a certain number of fat cells and you cant get rid of them only shrink them?
[/quote]

Everyone is born with a certain number of fat cells. Those fat cells grow and shrink based on the level of fat being stored on an individual’s body. There is NO indication that someone simply gains more fat cells by simply gaining weight. Past puberty, the number of fat cells you have would be fairly constant unless there was a DRASTIC gain in body fat (like that leading to morbid obesity). I have seen several authors (and one very ridiculous article here) that tried to use this info to make it seem as if any weight gain at all puts someone at risk of gaining fat cells that simply can’t be reduced without tons of loose skin being the final result. This is false. Avoid obesity (especially childhood obesity…which is often described as being over 25-30% body fat) and you have nothing to worry about.

Outside of liposuction, you are stuck with the number of fat cells you have. They simply grow and shrink based on the needs of the body.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
bigdude wrote:
Is it true that once you get a little fat you have a certain number of fat cells and you cant get rid of them only shrink them?

Everyone is born with a certain number of fat cells. Those fat cells grow and shrink based on the level of fat being stored on an individual’s body. There is NO indication that someone simply gains more fat cells by simply gaining weight. Past puberty, the number of fat cells you have would be fairly constant unless there was a DRASTIC gain in body fat (like that leading to morbid obesity). I have seen several authors that tried to use this info to make it seem as if any weight gain at all puts someone at risk of gaining fat cells that simply can’t be reduced without tons of loose skin being the final result. This is false.

Avoid obesity (especially childhood obesity…which is often described as being over 25-30% body fat) and you have nothing to worry about.

Outside of liposuction, you are stuck with the number of fat cells you have. They simply grow and shrink based on the needs of the body.[/quote]

Prof X makes this area of research look very neat and convenient for us all. But I think in reality nothing, especially this area of research, is not so straight forward. While the author of those articles may have cited only one study, in this field there seem to be a diverse range of opinions. It is CLEAR that smoking and obesity (among other things) are risk factors for CVD, it is CLEAR that increased ingestion of carcinogens in cigarettes increase the incidence of cancer. It is NOT CLEAR that the number of adipose cells stay constant “past puberty” or early development. I didn’t look long, but I managed to find several studies that found increases in fat cell volume AND count in (a) sedentary behaviour and (b) food restriction.

At the moment, it seems that there is no CLEAR picture, and pointing fingers with a closed mind so soon has historically on many occasions been shown to hold back science. The OP poses a good question.

(a) Inactivity induces increases in abdominal fat
Matthew J. Laye,1,6 John P. Thyfault,2,3,6,7 Craig S. Stump,1,3,6,7 and Frank W. Booth1,4,5,6

J Appl Physiol 102: 1341-1347, 2007. First published November 22, 2006; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01018.2006
8750-7587/07 $8.00

(b) Effects of exercise and of food restriction on adipose tissue cellularity

L. B. Oscai , C. N. Spirakis , C. A. Wolff , and R. J. Beck

Journal of Lipid Research, Vol. 13, 588-592, September 1972
Copyright ? 1972 by Lipid Research, Inc.

[quote]Contach wrote:
Professor X wrote:
bigdude wrote:
Is it true that once you get a little fat you have a certain number of fat cells and you cant get rid of them only shrink them?

Everyone is born with a certain number of fat cells. Those fat cells grow and shrink based on the level of fat being stored on an individual’s body. There is NO indication that someone simply gains more fat cells by simply gaining weight. Past puberty, the number of fat cells you have would be fairly constant unless there was a DRASTIC gain in body fat (like that leading to morbid obesity). I have seen several authors that tried to use this info to make it seem as if any weight gain at all puts someone at risk of gaining fat cells that simply can’t be reduced without tons of loose skin being the final result. This is false.

Avoid obesity (especially childhood obesity…which is often described as being over 25-30% body fat) and you have nothing to worry about.

Outside of liposuction, you are stuck with the number of fat cells you have. They simply grow and shrink based on the needs of the body.

Prof X makes this area of research look very neat and convenient for us all. But I think in reality nothing, especially this area of research, is not so straight forward. While the author of those articles may have cited only one study, in this field there seem to be a diverse range of opinions. It is CLEAR that smoking and obesity (among other things) are risk factors for CVD, it is CLEAR that increased ingestion of carcinogens in cigarettes increase the incidence of cancer. It is NOT CLEAR that the number of adipose cells stay constant “past puberty” or early development. I didn’t look long, but I managed to find several studies that found increases in fat cell volume AND count in (a) sedentary behaviour and (b) food restriction.

At the moment, it seems that there is no CLEAR picture, and pointing fingers with a closed mind so soon has historically on many occasions been shown to hold back science. The OP poses a good question.

(a) Inactivity induces increases in abdominal fat
Matthew J. Laye,1,6 John P. Thyfault,2,3,6,7 Craig S. Stump,1,3,6,7 and Frank W. Booth1,4,5,6

J Appl Physiol 102: 1341-1347, 2007. First published November 22, 2006; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01018.2006
8750-7587/07 $8.00

(b) Effects of exercise and of food restriction on adipose tissue cellularity

L. B. Oscai , C. N. Spirakis , C. A. Wolff , and R. J. Beck

Journal of Lipid Research, Vol. 13, 588-592, September 1972
Copyright ? 1972 by Lipid Research, Inc.[/quote]

If you want to discuss studies, we can have at it. The second reference you posted (yet another rat study) came to the conclusion that:

Note, I already wrote that childhood obesity and prepubescant stages of development could lead to changes in the number of fat cells. I write in ways that can be understood by most (especially the person asking the question). That doesn’t mean that I haven’t done my research as well.

Many would say that is what makes the difference between someone who actually understands the information…and someone who wants to seem as if they do.

[quote]bigdude wrote:
Is it true that once you get a little fat you have a certain number of fat cells and you cant get rid of them only shrink them?
[/quote]

no, the turnover of adipocytes occur just as with (almost) every other cell. The plasticity of adipose tissue is what makes it so important. Most research suggests that a lot of complications (e.g., insulin resistance) in obesity are associated with inefficient adipose expansion.

As far as reducing the number of fat cells with diet/exercise, I’m not sure if anyone’s looked at that (in humans)…but, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which that could happen

[quote]jay12 wrote:
bigdude wrote:
Is it true that once you get a little fat you have a certain number of fat cells and you cant get rid of them only shrink them?

no, the turnover of adipocytes occur just as with (almost) every other cell. The plasticity of adipose tissue is what makes it so important. Most research suggests that a lot of complications (e.g., insulin resistance) in obesity are associated with inefficient adipose expansion.

As far as reducing the number of fat cells with diet/exercise, I’m not sure if anyone’s looked at that (in humans)…but, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which that could happen[/quote]

do you chose to not listen to what the discussion has already thus said? or are you just naturally this oblivious?