In 2008, a team of international researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden put body fat into perspective. They found that by the time you reach your mid-20s, the number of fat cells in your body is set, no matter how much weight you gain or lose. Weight is related not only to the number of fat cells, but also to their size. When you gain weight, extra lipids make the fat cells grow in size. When you take off pounds, the cells shrink but never disappear.
Honey, I shrunk the fat cells:
- Two people with similar body shapes can have vastly different numbers of fat cells.
- The researchers said that between infancy and our early 20s, the number of fat cells in our bodies increases, then levels off. Some fat cells will die, but your body will replace them.
- We all need fat. More than half of our brains are made of fat, and fatty acids contribute to nerve development and function. Fat is also used to develop hormones.