Size Quantity and Other Trivia about Fat

When you are born, your body starts to accumulate fat cells. This process is most active between birth and age six. Your lifestyle at this juncture matters. If you eat well, exercise and sleep well, you may accumulate up to 20-30 billion fat cells. If you have poor habits, this number can go up to 200 billion fat cells. This matters. Researchers found that the absolute number of fat cells do not change. The number you have accumulated stay for life. If they die, an equal number are created.

If your food consists largely of fat and carbohydrates, the fat cells fill up. With fat of course. Persist and the cells will swell like a balloon. The average size of a fat cell is 0.2 micron. If you are over weight each fat cell can swell even up to 0.9 micron. Worse, if you refuse to pay heed, the absolute number of fat cells might even increase. There is no where left to store the fat. The movement is only unidirectional. It never goes down.

Fat is liberated from its cell through a process called hydrolysis. The fat (or triaglycerol) breaks into glycerol and three fatty acids. This needs an enzyme called hormone sensitive lipase to occur. The stored fat is converted into energy for your body to use. This reduces the size of the fat cells. However, the absolute number remain the same. It takes more than a stroll in the park for your fat cells to give up its loot a.ka.a fat. Your body first tries to source its energy need from simple carbohydrates. Only if you are deficient or your available simple carbs are exhausted does your body turn to fat. Yes, this means you need to strain your body before it will release fat. Sorry! There is no free lunch or should I say there is no free ride to get rid of your lunch.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.