Do Fat Cells Die When You Lose Weight?

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Last updated on November 21, 2023


Answer: Fat Cells Never Die!

Understanding the Persistence of Fat Cells in Your Body

One thing that is hard for people to wrap their heads around is that their fat cells are there to stay. This isn’t horrible news because your fat cells have an incredible ability to not just expand, but shrink as well. So you can get the lean body you desire without losing a single fat cell; you just need to make them smaller.

Losing weight is more complex than just shedding fat cells.

Here’s a clearer picture of what actually happens:

Shrinking, Not Disappearing: When you diet and exercise, your fat cells (or adipocytes) don’t vanish; they simply shrink. These cells store fat in the form of triglycerides (three fatty acid molecules attached to a glycerol molecule). This means they’re always ready to store fat again if the need arises.

Factors Influencing Fat Cell Numbers: The number of fat cells in your body varies based on several factors:

  • Genetic Influence: Your genetic makeup plays a significant role.
  • Childhood and Teenage Obesity: The more overweight you were in your youth, the more fat cells you’re likely to have.

Growth and Maintenance of Fat Cells:

  • Growth Until Teenage Years: The number of fat cells can increase up to your teenage years. Being overweight at a young age means having more fat cells than someone who was leaner during their teens.
  • Stabilization Post-20: After the age of 20, the number of fat cells generally stops increasing. While these cells can die and regenerate, the body maintains a nearly consistent number of them.

What Happens During Weight Loss: When you lose weight through diet and exercise, your fat cells release stored triglycerides, causing them to shrink. However, they remain ready to store fat again, which is why there’s often a tendency to regain weight.

Fun Fact: Even after procedures like liposuction or bariatric surgery, where fat cells are removed, the body tends to regenerate a similar number of fat cells. Initially, these new cells don’t contain triglycerides, but they can eventually start accumulating fat again.

The number of fat cells in your body can only increase and not decrease, stabilizing in adulthood. This is a key reason why maintaining weight loss can be challenging.

3 Simple Tips to Keep Your Fat Cells Small.

  • Reduce, Don’t Eliminate Your Carbs – Cutting out carbohydrates entirely from your diet isn’t the best idea for most people.

Yes, very low carbohydrate diets do work, but you can get just as good of results by reducing and rearranging your carbs just a little bit.

Here’s what to do. Grains (like bread, pasta, rice, oats, etc.) and starchy carbs (like potatoes) should be eaten first thing in the morning and directly after you exercise.

So if you don’t exercise before dinner, no potatoes for you!

The rest of the time, fill your plate with vegetables (especially green leafy and fibrous ones) and some fruit.

Pretty simple huh?

This simple reduction and rearrangement of the carbohydrates in your diet will have you eating carbs when your body is hormonally ready for them, making fat loss more efficient.

  • Eat More Raspberries – Researchers have found that a group of antioxidants in raspberries, called raspberry ketones, can impact your fat loss hormones at the gene level.

Raspberry ketones have been shown to increase gene expression of the hormone adiponectin.

This is a hormone released from your fat cells that causes you to burn more calories.

Raspberries also have lots of fiber (9 grams per cup!) – one more reason that they are a great weight-loss food.

  • Drink Green Tea – This last tip is going to help shrink your fat cells and help stop you from growing new ones.

Studies involving the antioxidants found in green tea show that they actually stop the maturation of your fat cells, preventing them from growing into mature immortal fat cells.

Drink green tea every day to aid in this process. As a side benefit, the combination of the antioxidants and caffeine naturally found in your daily cup of green tea has also been shown to shrink your waistline. Drink up!

These three diet tips are very easy to implement and follow. Put these three simple steps into your diet to start losing weight faster and more efficiently.


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