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  • INTRO

  • Maintaining a healthy weight is a goal for many people,

  • and aerobic exercise is one way to kick your metabolism into high gear,

  • to help burn excess fat by using the chemical energy that's stored inside it.

  • The fat in your body is actually a connective tissue made up of cells called adipocytes, or fat cells.

  • Which raises the question: What happens to these cells when you burn up your fat stores?

  • Do the cells just disappear when their energy is released?

  • Well, here's the skinny on your fat cells

  • They never really go away.

  • But they can grow and shrink, depending on whether you're gaining or losing weight.

  • And that's a good thing.

  • You don't want your fat cells to completely go away

  • because that tissue plays an important role in your anatomy.

  • Fat gives your body structure, cushions your organs,

  • and keeps you insulated to help regulate your body temperature.

  • But the primary function of fat cells is to store energy.

  • When you eat, sugars in your food are the first form of energy to be used.

  • But when you're not eating, your body needs a way to access energy from somewhere so you can still function.

  • So fat is actually super important.

  • Like any other cell in your body, your fat cells have a nucleus and organelles.

  • But they're specialized, so that 90% of each cell is basically just a pouch for fat storage.

  • And the fat-storage unit that your body uses is called a triglyceride.

  • It's made up of three fatty acid chains and a molecule of glycerol,

  • a kind of alcohol that serves as a backbone for the fatty acids to attach to.

  • The bonds in fatty acids contain a lot of chemical energy, so it's in this form that fat sits around in your adipocytes.

  • When they're needed for energy, triglycerides are broken up into its component fatty acids, with the help of a protein known as LPL.

  • Those fatty acids can then pass through the membrane of the fat cell,

  • where they're dispatched to be metabolized elsewhere so their energy can be unleashed.

  • In the process, the fat cell shrinks.

  • But if more triglycerides get stored than get used up, that's what causes adipocytes to grow.

  • And larger fat cells means more adipose tissue.

  • Losing weight requires expending enough energy to break down the triglyceride stores into fatty acids that can further be used as energy, shrinking the fat cells.

  • But as anyone who has tried to lose weight knows, it takes a lot of work.

  • And even if you do lose weight, it's easy to gain back, since it requires less energy to store excess fat than to burn it.

  • So, without using up any of that stored energy, fat cells will continue to sit, unused and forgotten.

  • Thanks for asking, and thanks especially to all of our patrons on Patreon who keep these answers coming.

  • If you'd like to submit questions to be answered, or get some videos a few days early,

  • go to patreon.com/scishow.

  • And don't forget to go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe!

  • OUTRO

INTRO

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B1 US fat energy fatty weight body stored

Do Fat Cells Ever Really Go Away?

  • 4 2
    joey joey posted on 2021/05/05
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