Fat Cells Set In Adolescence


  According to recent Swedish research the number of fat cells our bodies contain is set in childhood and can not be changed later in life.  As people gain or lose weight, their fat cells swell and shrink, but do not change in number.  There is even evidence that once a fat cell has enlarged when we gain weight, when we then lose weight, the fat cell "remembers" the good times and screams for more.  Here is a link to the BBC story that alerted me to this.

As discouraging as this may seem, I think it actually points to two positive possibilities.  The first is to an increased importance in eating a healthy diet.  Everyone knows someone who is slightly overweight, but lives a long and healthy life.  Obesity can lead to diabetes and other health issues, and is a dangerous health risk.  But many studies have not been able to detect any difference in health or longevity between normal weight and slightly over weight people.  The key may be the quality of your diet and lifestyle more than how much you eat.

The second positive possibility results from recent findings that, as adults, every year 10% of our fat cells die and are replaced by an identical number of new cells.  The hope that some have is that science will figure out a way to prevent the dead fat cells from being replaced, maybe a pill to prevent fat cell regeneration.  Can you imagine the potential long term problems that could cause?  I think eating healthy food, not drinking soda, and leading an overall healthy lifestyle is the best approach to take.  Maybe not the easy button fix to obesity many hope for, but perhaps the safest path to follow.


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Will Sig
1 Rob

‘They say that what you eat, you are..’ George Harrison
What surprises me Will, is that it is not very obvious that the food we eat is significant to our bodies now and in the future.
It is quite depressing really, to think that we have become so disengaged from the natural rhythms of life that we need reminding of these blindingly obvious facts!
But, reminded we have to be.
Keep up the great work.

Robs last blog post..if paradise was half as nice……..


2 Will

I wonder if Harrison lived by that quote. I know he died of lung cancer, but I don’t know if he smoked. Sometimes lung cancer strikes down people with no known risk factors, maybe he was one of those?

But for the rest of us, good diet and lifestyle choices can dramatically increase the odds of a healthy life.


3 sky

Namaste’ Will, hahahah I didn’t know this. But you know when I was growing up, it was rare to see any over weight kids , at least where I lived. There was the ODD one. But I grew up with having two channels and was allowed to watch a set amount of time for programs on those channels, and it was typically having to do with learning or a good family show. We NEVER were brought to fast food places, meals wre home cooked from scratch not prepackaged, and we were ALWAYS outside playing , inventing, creating our lives, not sitting in front of the t.v playing video games for hours on end. My parents were into working out daily *they still are in and in their 50’s both have a six pack of abs on them no kidding haha* so were good role models nutritionally, and lifestyle wise, I have never dieted. I simply continued into my life as an adult, what I started and learned in childhood with good eating habits and daily exercise.

interesting article thanks a bunch of grapes :0)

skys last blog post..A Place


4 Michelle

I have to agree with sky…..I don’t recall ANY obese kids in school when I was growing up.

We were outside most of the time, got plenty of sunshine (without using chemical sunblock), ate food that was untainted by chemicals and genetic modification, and never had a molecule of High Fructose Corn Syrup which is one of the worse things you can ingest yet is in 80% of the prepared foods most people eat.

It’s not one thing, it’s so many together that are at the root of obesity today. No pills for me, though, thanks anyway. There are enough pills around as it is….it’s time we take responsibility for ourselves and not rely on a pill to save us. 🙂

Michelles last blog post..Eight Pieces Brocade positions hint list


5 Swubird


Absolutely. I’m with you all they way on this one. Nothing is better for you than a better diet. Having said that, however, my dear old mom lived to be a ripe eighty-five. She ate biscuits and gravy, pancakes, cake and anything else she wanted. And, yes, she weighed close to three hundred pounds. She only stood five three, so that’s heavy. I guess that’s in line with the study on weight vs. longevity that you mentioned. Her doctor told me that heavy people typically have healthy hearts because they have to lug all that weight around every day. I don’t know. On the one hand it makes sense, but on the other hand, it’s hard to believe. I’m thinking of the whole clogged artery thing. Either way, though, diet has to be an important factor.

Great post.

have a healthy day.

Swubirds last blog post..IGNORANCE IS BLISS!


6 Will

Hi Sky and Michelle – I do remember a few overweight childhood friends, but you are right, it was very rare. I wonder when high fructose corn syrup started being used in everything? I never thought about the possibility that we would not have been exposed to it as kids.

I just looked it up and it was invented in 1957 and started being used in food in 1975. It really took off from there. So we could have consumed a lot of it even back in the day if it were not for parents who prepared most of our meals from REAL food.

Here is an interesting graph of sweetener use.


7 Michelle

Hi Will,

Well, I’m afraid I’m going to date myself here, but by 1975 I’d been married for three years….in fact, tomorrow (May 6) is my 36th wedding anniversary……so, high fructose corn syrup wasn’t a part of my diet in those early, formative years.

I can’t recall now where I found it, but I read that the process to make HFCS involves two genetically modified enzymes, so that alone puts it on my “Just Say No” list. Apparently some scientists believe there is a direct correlation with the rise in obesity and the increased use of HFCS possibly because (as some scientists believe) it interferes with the message the stomach sends to the brain to tell it that you are full, stop eating now. Because that message gets scrambled, people keep eating even when they have really had enough, hence obesity. (However, I think it is probably more complicated than that, and that many factors contribute to the problem.)

As a parent (starting in 1980), I made all my son’s meals from scratch, never even bought prepared baby food in jars, just bought fresh or frozen foods and prepared them myself. The only thing I regret was that I wasn’t aware enough to go organic back then.

I’ve started to try to live by the words, “If my grandmother didn’t eat it, neither will I.” My grandmothers died in 1956 (paternal) and 1962 (maternal), so that eliminates a lot of additives and preservatives from my diet right off the top, and definitely puts high fructose corn syrup on the “do not eat” list. 🙂

Michelles last blog post..Qigong – Ancient Chinese Healing for the 21st Century


8 Betty

What I’ve seen in my life is several people eat much and gain more weight very slow, but another peoples gain weight easily by eating less food. I think it has something to do with genetical. But, however I agree that we better take the safest way by eating healthy food, not drinking soda, and leading an overall healthy lifestyle.


9 Will

Yes, HFCS is a bad one. I did not know about the GM enzymes. Disturbing.

Genetics is part of it. My maternal grandmother and all her 10 sisters lived into their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I am not positive, but I think a couple are still alive in their late 90’s or early 100’s. My grandmother at 86 had “sugar problems”, which I guess is diabetes but was fairly healthy and active. I think others in the family had this also, so there may be a genetic component. But diet and lifestyle plays an important role. I just went for a physical and the blood tests showed incredibly good results for everything, including blood sugar. But I have a healthy diet. Not perfect, of course, but overall very good. I would say I get less exercise than what is recommended, and even though I am at a good weight, I know I could easily gain weight if I ate poorly. So diet is most important in my mind for good health.


10 Steve

Hi Will, I saw this post yesterday on your Random Posts section. I didn’t have time to comment then, so had to search for it today. Kudos to the “Random Posts” and your “search” function. Anyway, I’ve always thought that if you become overweight as a kid, you’ll be much more likely to be overweight as an adult, and it will be a much tougher fight not to be. It saddens me to think of all the overweight kids these days. As to me, I grew up in a “clean your dinner plate” family. There wasn’t enough food to worry about over-eating though. But now when my two kids don’t finish all of their food at dinner, I bite my tongue before telling them to “clean their plate”. They are young and we still serve them. When they’re a little older and serving themselves, I’ll teach them to only “take what you’ll eat, and eat what you take.” What a different world we live in now compared to a few hundred years ago that we have the luxury of worrying about eating too much! Well, at least some of us. Anyway, good post and kudos to the Swedes as well (I’m 1/4 Swede). ~ Steve


11 JDixon

Have you seen the recent TV commercials. The Corn Refiners Association decided to ’show’ high-fructose corn syrup was as safe as sugar.

They’re pretty crazy and I don’t think its safe advertising.


12 Diet Blog

Wow! I had no idea that fat cells were finite in the human body. I always just assumed that when you gained weight, you got more fat cells. This is extremely interesting. I’m going to tell my friend about the 10% fat cells dying every year. If that’s true, then the new cells won’t have the urge to be “Big Fat Cells”. Cool.

Diet Blogs last blog post..Don’t Punish Yourself And Don’t Give Up


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