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Body Fat -- Fat Cells - Weight loss
Obesity and overweight status is determined in adults by finding a person's "Body Mass Index" or BMI, chart body weight and height. You are considered "overweight" if your BMI is between 25 and 29.9. Obese if your BMI is 30 or over." This measurement is used because it's typically a good indicator of body fat.
Fat, or adipose tissue, is found in several places in your body. Generally, fat is found underneath your skin (subcutaneous fat). There's also some on top of each of your kidneys. In addition to fat tissue, some fat is stored in the liver, and an even smaller amount in muscle.
Where fat is concentrated in your body depends upon whether you are a man or woman:
- An adult man tends to carry body fat in his chest, abdomen and buttocks, producing an "apple" shape.
- An adult woman tends to carry fat in her breasts, hips, waist and buttocks, creating a "pear" shape.
- White fat is important in energy metabolism, heat insulation and mechanical cushioning.
- Brown fat is found mostly in newborn babies, between the shoulders, and is important for thermo genesis (making heat). Adult humans have little to no brown fat.
Fat tissue is made up of fat cells, which are a unique type of cell. You can think of a fat cell as a tiny plastic bag that holds a drop of fat. White fat cells are large cells that have very little cytoplasm, only 15 percent cell volume, a small nucleus and one large fat droplet that makes up 85 percent of cell volume.
How Fat Enters Your Body
When you eat food that contains fat, mostly triglycerides, it goes through your stomach and intestines. In the intestines, the following happens:
- Large fat droplets get mixed with bile salts from the gall bladder in a process called emulsification. The mixture breaks up the large droplets into several smaller droplets called micelles, increasing the fat's surface area.
- The pancreas secretes enzymes called lipases that attack the surface of each micelle and break the fats down into their parts, glycerol and fatty acids.
- These parts get absorbed into the cells lining the intestine.
- In the intestinal cell, the parts are reassembled into packages of fat molecules (triglycerides) with a protein coating called chylomicrons. The protein coating makes the fat dissolve more easily in water.
- The chylomicrons are released into the lymphatic system -- they do not go directly into the bloodstream because they are too big to pass through the wall of the capillary.
- The lymphatic system eventually merges with the veins, at which point the chylomicrons pass into the bloodstream.
You might be wondering why fat molecules get broken down into glycerol and fatty acids if they're just going to be rebuilt. This is because fat molecules are too big to easily cross cell membranes. So when passing from the intestine through the intestinal cells into the lymph, or when crossing any cell barrier, the fats must be broken down. But, when fats are being transported in the lymph or blood, it is better to have a few, large fat molecules than many smaller fatty acids, because the larger fats do not "attract" as many excess water molecules by osmosis as many smaller molecules would.
In the next section, we'll look at how fat is stored in your body.
In the last section, we learned how fat in the body is broken down and rebuilt into chylomicrons, which enter the bloodstream by way of the lymphatic system.
Chylomicrons do not last long in the bloodstream -- only about eight minutes -- because enzymes called lipoprotein lipases break the fats into fatty acids. Lipoprotein lipases are found in the walls of blood vessels in fat tissue, muscle tissue and heart muscle.
When you eat a candy bar or a meal, the presence of glucose, amino acids or fatty acids in the intestine stimulates the pancreas to secrete a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts on many cells in your body, especially those in the liver, muscle and fat tissue. Insulin tells the cells to do the following:
- Absorb glucose, fatty acids and amino acids
- Stop breaking down glucose, fatty acids and amino acids; glycogen into glucose; fats into fatty acids and glycerol; and proteins into amino acids
- Start building glycogen from glucose; fats (triglycerides) from glycerol and fatty acids; and proteins from amino acids
The activity of lipoprotein lipases depends upon the levels of insulin in the body. If insulin is high, then the lipases are highly active; if insulin is low, the lipases are inactive.
The fatty acids are then absorbed from the blood into fat cells, muscle cells and liver cells. In these cells, under stimulation by insulin, fatty acids are made into fat molecules and stored as fat droplets.
It is also possible for fat cells to take up glucose and amino acids, which have been absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal, and convert those into fat molecules. The conversion of carbohydrates or protein into fat is 10 times less efficient than simply storing fat in a fat cell, but the body can do it. If you have 100 extra calories in fat (about 11 grams) floating in your bloodstream, fat cells can store it using only 2.5 calories of energy. On the other hand, if you have 100 extra calories in glucose (about 25 grams) floating in your bloodstream, it takes 23 calories of energy to convert the glucose into fat and then store it. Given a choice, a fat cell will grab the fat and store it rather than the carbohydrates because fat is so much easier to store.
Next, we'll look at how your body breaks down fat.
Brown Fat: Making Heat
When you are first born, your body does not have much white fat to help insulate and retain body heat; although there are white fat cells, there is not much fat stored in them. Brown fat cells are somewhat smaller than white, are composed of several smaller fat droplets and are loaded with mitochondria, which can generate heat. A newborn baby produces heat (a process called thermogenesis) primarily by breaking down fat molecules into fatty acids in brown fat cells. Instead of those fatty acids leaving the brown fat cell, as happens in white fat cells, they get further broken down in the mitochondria and their energy is released directly as heat. This same process occurs in hibernating animals, which have more brown fat than humans. Once the newborn baby starts eating more, developing layers of white fat, the brown fat goes away. Adult humans have little or no brown fat.
Breaking Down Fat
When you are not eating, your body is not absorbing food. If your body is not absorbing food, there is little insulin in the blood. However, your body is always using energy; and if you're not absorbing food, this energy must come from internal stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Under these conditions, various organs in your body secrete hormones:
- pancreas - glucagon
- pituitary gland - growth hormone
- pituitary gland - ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
- adrenal gland - epinephrine (adrenaline)
- thyroid gland - thyroid hormone
These hormones act on cells of the liver, muscle and fat tissue, and have the opposite effects of insulin.
When you are not eating, or you are exercising, your body must draw on its internal energy stores. Your body's prime source of energy is glucose. In fact, some cells in your body, such as brain cells, can get energy only from glucose.
The first line of defense in maintaining energy is to break down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules -- this process is called glycogenolysis. Next, your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.
In the fat cell, other types of lipases work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose.
Losing Weight and Losing Fat
Your weight is determined by the rate at which you store energy from the food that you eat, and the rate at which you use that energy. Remember that as your body breaks down fat, the number of fat cells remains the same; each fat cell simply gets smaller.
Most experts agree that the way to maintain a healthy weight is:
- Eat a balanced diet - appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, fat and protein
- Do not eat excessively - for most people, a diet of 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day is sufficient to maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
For more information on fat and your health, check out the links on the following page.
How Your Cells Release Fat-Burning Messages (And Why They're Mute)
Hello Sherpa Follower,
So few people truly understand that fat-burning is a process that happens at the CELLULAR level.
Without going into all the scientific lingo, that basically means that your body's CELLS are actually what decide if/when/how they want to be broken down and melted away.
If the cells aren't able to function properly, then fat-burning doesn't happen...PERIOD!
This is why so many people feel like they're working hard and eating right...
...but STILL don't see the changes on the scale!
Here's why this happens...
You see, your body's cells get bogged down with outside toxins.
You can't escape them.
They're in your food... your water... the air you breathe... your home... even your shampoo!
These "poisons" enter your body in tiny amounts, but unfortunately your body was never designed to deal with the HUGE amount of environmental toxins you and your family now face on a daily basis.
In fact, did you know that in the last 12 months you and your family have consumed about 14 POUNDS of chemicals?
It's sad, but true!
At these levels, there's just no way for your body to get rid of it all.
Instead, they're stored away INSIDE of your body rather than eliminated as waste.
And one of the main places they're stored...is in your body's FAT CELLS!
When this happens, your cells' mitochondria (the "energy center" of your cells) are unable to function at full capacity.
That means that although you "want" them to work at top speed and help you achieve your "dream body"...
...they just CAN'T!
It's IMPOSSIBLE in such a polluted state.
The worst part is that these toxic wastes build up slowly over time so you don't even feel it's happening.
But these wastes can stick around in the body for YEARS, silently building up higher and higher, sabotaging your metabolism, and creating an environment for all sorts of health problems and disease.
I know it sounds like you're screwed, but you're not.
The absolute best way to get your cells back up to "turbo-speed" is to REMOVE the toxins that are poisoning them.
This is known as "detoxing".
There's been a lot of buzz about detoxing (or "cleansing") lately due to many
celebrities claiming how amazing it is.
Unfortunately, a lot of the trendy cleansing programs out there now are waaaaaay too extreme for the average person and end up being a miserable experience.
But done the RIGHT WAY, a detox can be an AMAZING (even life-changing!) adventure where you...
...eliminate "daytime fatigue"
...actually "feel" lighter and cleaner inside
...have a "happier" look on life (toxin are also freed from the brain!)
...even DOUBLE your fat-burning results!
The secret is to make the detox process not only EFFECTIVE...but EASY-TO-FOLLOW as well!
The process of detoxing isn't as mysterious as it may sound.
In fact, here's an easy 3-day detox anyone can do to unlock your body's fat-burning "super cells" and feel great:
This simple program is perfect even if you're completely new to detoxing because it works with your body's natural process for eliminating waste.
It even includes more advanced techniques for the more experienced or for you to ease into.
Best of all, it only takes 3 DAYS to complete! (You'll even begin to FEEL the effects the very first day!)
Go ahead and check out the details and see how easy detoxing really can be.
Remember, keep an open mind to new ideas, but ALWAYS do your own homework... and combine that with common sense to figure out what's best for YOU.
P.S. - Detoxing is so powerful that I would go so far as to say that this "Easy 3-Day Detox" should be the very FIRST thing you do to see better results from your fat-burning program.
It also works great as a "monthly cleanse" to keep you from hitting any plateaus with your fat-burning.
Go and see for yourself why this program is so important at:
You'll be glad you did! :-)