7

votes

Fat cells - do they ever disappear?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 29, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I know our body can create new fat cells as we expand, however I have yet to find a source that can claim that during weight loss and once a fat cell is depleted that the body destroys the cell.

I find some sources that say that yes the body can destroy fat cells but that it takes a long time to do so - how long? That once the fat cell is depleted of triglycerides that the body then stores water in it preparing for the eventuality that it will one day again need this cell as an energy store and rather than recreate the cell it is more efficient to keep it.

There is no mention anywhere of the process in the body to the destruction of adipocytes.

If it is true then that fat cells shrink with fat loss instead of being destroyed then that would explain why people who do manage to lose weight gain it back when they resume the SAD, because the body is already prepared for the storage and once the metabolism gets broken again with the improper regulation of Insulin.

If not then how long does it take? Does anyone know the duration you would need to remain lean from excessive weight loss in order for your body to destroy fat cells no longer necessary.. or if the only realistic way of ridding yourself of excess fat cells is liposuction which is what the cosmetic industry implies.

Thanks

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 30, 2011
at 09:25 PM

How can CR love a blog that doesn't exist yet? That's a whole new realm right there.

452b4d079e0c39d4ca923e712f64239f

(196)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:43 PM

Could it be his new muscles simply filled in the loose tissue?

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:31 PM

Are there ever times when the fat cells die but don't get replaced?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:13 PM

no blog yet........that will evolve soon too.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:13 PM

fat cells undergo autophagy.....well established. The biochemist was speaking aboout it in relation to fasting. In fasting you wont lose fat cells. They are conserved in CR. CR and changes in body comp are two separate processes.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:25 PM

Dr. K has a blog ?

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:20 PM

Hi Dr K! Love your blog btw you have been a huge inspiration. Do you what circumstances then would be neccesary to have fat cells created during weight gain to be removed during weight loss instead of just shrinking? Most literature I have found on the subject such as the one above by Flatt say they are not removed.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:07 PM

Well, when you max out your existing fat cells, you do create new ones simply due to capacity issues, so it's possible that those new ones can be pulled off the table, but I doubt that you'd ever dip below the number you started out with.

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on March 29, 2011
at 04:35 PM

maybe the way other cells are replaced? Meaning that a fat cell is replaced with a new, so the old one can be kicked out.

B289fd8670257e77badb0c77709f8572

(10)

on March 29, 2011
at 04:26 PM

I had always heard 'no' but Dr. Cate Shanahan (Deep Nutrition) has written that fat cells can be recomposed for other purposes. She said this, too, on J. Moore's podcast recently: http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/3883/dr-catey-shanahan-tells-us-that-food-rules-episode-459/ <--23:00 mark

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7 Answers

6
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:29 PM

This article describes the findings of aNature paper titled "Dynamics of fat cell turnover in humans."

In a study published in Nature they have demonstrated that we continually create new fat cells to replace those that are breaking down. The scientists have also demonstrated that fat people do this at a faster rate than lean people - obese peopl e's fat cells die at a faster rate and are created at an equally faster rate.

Peter Arner, Professor, Department of Medicine, Huddinge, said "The total number of fat cells in the body is stable overtime, because the making of new fat cells is counterbalanced by an equally rapid break down of the already existing fat cells due to cell death."

Peter Arner said "The results may, at least in part, explain why it is so difficult to maintain the weight after slimming. The new fat cells generated during and after weight reduction need to fill up their lipids rapidly."

That study put the number of fat cells at 10% each year.

Approximately 10% of fat cells are renewed annually at all adult ages and levels of body mass index.

A new study out this month estimates the rate as much higher:

Adipocyte turnover is now thought to occur throughout adult life. Estimates of adipocyte turnover in humans vary greatly, from a low of 10% per year by analyzing the integration of 14C derived from nuclear bomb tests in genomic DNA to a high of greater than 60% per year (0.16???0.29% per day) by 2H2O long-term labeling.

Our estimate of daily turnover of adipocyte and preadipocyte cells ranges from a low of 1.8% to a high of 5.7%.

It could be that as many as 5.7 percent of your fat cells die and are lost and are being replaced by new fat cells every day. However your total number of fat cells remains the same.


In answer to mari:

Actually there are some cases where fat cells are not replaced however they are not ones you would wish to experience. Some of the drugs to treat HIV infection can kill off new fat cells in certain areas of the body before they mature so that dying fat cells are not replaced. This causes loss of fat from the face and limbs and at the same time fat gain around the abdomen and the back of the neck. This is known as HIV-associated lipodystrophy.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on March 29, 2011
at 10:31 PM

Are there ever times when the fat cells die but don't get replaced?

2
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:12 PM

The answer is yes. And plastic surgeons are famous for telling people we cant grow new ones post liposuction and that is dead wrong too. That is old school medicine there

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:13 PM

no blog yet........that will evolve soon too.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:25 PM

Dr. K has a blog ?

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on March 29, 2011
at 07:20 PM

Hi Dr K! Love your blog btw you have been a huge inspiration. Do you what circumstances then would be neccesary to have fat cells created during weight gain to be removed during weight loss instead of just shrinking? Most literature I have found on the subject such as the one above by Flatt say they are not removed.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:13 PM

fat cells undergo autophagy.....well established. The biochemist was speaking aboout it in relation to fasting. In fasting you wont lose fat cells. They are conserved in CR. CR and changes in body comp are two separate processes.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on March 30, 2011
at 09:25 PM

How can CR love a blog that doesn't exist yet? That's a whole new realm right there.

0
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on March 30, 2011
at 05:41 PM

It is possible that upon replacement, some white fat could become brown brown cells. We are not STUCK with one type, current conditions as well as existing structures affect what new cells are created in the classic replacement cycle.

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2009/10/13/Cellular-autophagy-may-affect-obesity/UPI-34821255461237/

Days where we feed high on good fats might be days where we engage in less cellular autophagy. http://www.lipidmaps.org/update/2009/090501/full/lipidmaps.2009.1.html

I think this may have some bearing on how effective IF is in reducing fat mass.

0
669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on March 29, 2011
at 09:17 PM

I've read something about this guy John Gabriel who claims he lost all of his loose skin naturally. He's ripped if you see him,but I'm not sure if there wasn't some secret plastic surgery involved to remove the loose skin.

452b4d079e0c39d4ca923e712f64239f

(196)

on March 30, 2011
at 01:43 PM

Could it be his new muscles simply filled in the loose tissue?

0
698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:02 PM

I found this article by J.P. Flatt a biochemist (he is references by GT) http://www.ajcn.org/content/61/4/952S.full.pdf

"In the fat cells that make up adipose tissue, triglycerides form a central fat droplet (much larger by itself than most of the body’s other cells) that is surrounded by a thin layer of metabolically active cytoplasm. These adipocytes can expand or shrink considerably, but once formed, their number cannot be reduced by fasting, only their size (9). "

So it seems at least by conventional dieting or fasting the number of fat cells will not diminish even with weight loss.

@TWS ill listen to cates podcast and give her article a read, I am curious as to what would be needed in order to have them recomposed for other purposed. I don't suppose there is any adverse effect to having the extra cells but I think they may be a big reason why gaining weight after 'dieting' happens so fast...

What interests me even more is that there must be a lower limit to what level these fat cells can shrink too, so even if you were to shed your weight down to a manageable level you would still have more adipose tissue than someone of equal weight and body composition has always been relatively lean, would this not mean you are still carrying more weight? Would it then be near impossible for a severely obese person to ever get to a weight level equal to somebody of similar body composition that was always lean?

0
Medium avatar

on March 29, 2011
at 04:15 PM

Adipocytes have an important role in the endocrine system; the removal of them would be disadvantageous to health. Shrinking them down to a depleted state is all that is necessary in order to become lean.

B289fd8670257e77badb0c77709f8572

(10)

on March 29, 2011
at 04:26 PM

I had always heard 'no' but Dr. Cate Shanahan (Deep Nutrition) has written that fat cells can be recomposed for other purposes. She said this, too, on J. Moore's podcast recently: http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/3883/dr-catey-shanahan-tells-us-that-food-rules-episode-459/ <--23:00 mark

A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

(4896)

on March 29, 2011
at 04:35 PM

maybe the way other cells are replaced? Meaning that a fat cell is replaced with a new, so the old one can be kicked out.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on March 29, 2011
at 06:07 PM

Well, when you max out your existing fat cells, you do create new ones simply due to capacity issues, so it's possible that those new ones can be pulled off the table, but I doubt that you'd ever dip below the number you started out with.

0
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on March 29, 2011
at 02:33 PM

As far as I know, as you said - the cells shrink, not disappear. That's why, in addition to other problems, liposuction is so dangerous. thy mechanically remove fat cells from the naturally occurring places. Now when that person slips and puts on weight, the fat has to go somewhere - so it can be stored in unusual places, where the fat cells were not destroyed.

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