How Does Fat Develop In Our Bodies?

Fat. That ugly “f” word. We fight it with diet, exercise, cold laser treatment, the works. And yet there it is. It’s a part of our life, our bodies. And we have to accept it, because it isn’t going away any time soon.

Researchers disagree over whether or not we are born with all the fat cells we’re ever going to have. Some say fat cells increase as we mature, while others say no. Either way, by the time we reach adulthood, we have about 30 billion of the little suckers in our bodies. Even cosmetic treatments like cold laser fat reduction don’t reduce the number of fat cells. In fact, research has shown that nothing reduces their number, not even a cold laser. You can reduce their size, however.

When a person eats, be it a piece of lean salmon or a piece of pie, the lipids from that food are stored in the fat cells. Proteins formed by the fat cells themselves, called lipoproteins, help to capture free fatty acids and turn them into lipids which are stored in the fat cells. The body then releases these lipids to produce energy for cell growth. All cells use fats and cholesterol as the building blocks from which to form their outer membranes and to organize their functions and systems. And this process occurs in both times of surplus caloric intake and in times of reduced or limited food supply.

So, we all have fat, and we can’t really get rid of it, and it’s ours for life. Why then, do some suffer from obesity and its related health problems while others don’t? Do their bodies do something different?  While we can’t grow more fat cells, we can stretch the ones we have to more than 4 times their normal size.  And one of those lipoproteins, leptin, gets a bit out of whack in the case of obesity. In a human being, each cell produces leptin. As the body burns fat for energy, the leptin level drops, signaling the brain to tell the body it needs food. In obese individuals, their levels of leptin are always elevated, as the cells are hyper making leptin. The brain then becomes leptin resistant. The body never knows when to eat, so it eats more than it should to make up for a supposed lack of leptin caused by the leptin resistance.

Fat, That ugly “f” word. It’s ours. We might as well get used to that fact. And then take steps to ensure that we live in a healthy relationship with it. It’s here to stay, after all.

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