Weight loss: How the size of fat cells may affect obesity risks

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
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Scientists have been measuring fat cells to determine if there is an association with weight management issues. Hernandez & Sorokina/Stocksy
  • Researchers report that large fat cells may help with decreases in body weight, body-mass index (BMI), and total body fat.
  • In the study, researchers said they also found that certain types of small fat cells can conversely cause increases in body weight, BMI, and total body fat.
  • The scientists said measuring a person’s fat cells could help with weight management.

A new study presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, Italy, has concluded that there is a significant correlation between the size of fat cells and future weight issues.

The researchers said they discovered that individuals with larger fat cells tend to lose weight over time while people with smaller fat cells are more likely to gain weight.

They said these findings, which have not been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal, could potentially revolutionize the understanding of weight management.

Peter Arner, one of the study’s authors and a professor at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, explained that small fat cells might increase the risk of gaining weight but may also present some advantages.

“It is well known that people with small fat cells have a better metabolic profile than people who are the same weight but have large fat cells,” Arner said in a press release.

“This means that if someone with small fat cells does gain weight, it may not raise their risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure as much as if they had large fat cells,” he added.

Medical experts consider smaller fat cells Healthier. Fat cells can shrink after exercise, but it isn’t always clear whether the size reduction is from exercise or weight loss, which often accompanies an exercise program.

Research published in the Journal of Physiology in 2022 set out to find out why. That study included 36 men with obesity who exercised for 12 weeks.

The scientists monitored the men’s diet during the study to ensure they didn’t lose weight. Then, they studied the fat cells and concluded that exercise, not weight loss, made the cells healthier. The cells also became smaller and had less inflammation.

The fat tissue could then take in excess calories from eating. The bodily improvements from exercise and simple movement aren’t just muscle improvements. The researchers said they also improve the Health of cells by shrinking large fat cells.

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