Obese People Have Slower Fat Turnover

Obese people have a slower turnover rate for the fat in their body than average weight individuals, new research shows, making it harder for them to shed excess pounds.

Fat is replaced at a slower rate in people who struggle with obesity than in people of an average weight, according to a global team of researchers, making it more difficult for them to lose weight.

The average rate of fat storage and loss in the body is one-and-a-half years in normal weight people. In obese people, however, the turnover rate of fat in the body is two years, researchers report. What’s more, the rate that fat is removed from fat tissue is lower and the amount of fat stored in the body each year is higher in obese people.

“We found that a combination of high storage and low fat removal rates, as in obesity, facilitates fat accumulation within fatty tissue,” said national laboratory researcher Bruce Buchholz of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, one of the authors of the report published in the September 25th online edition of the journal Nature. “This promotes the development or maintenance of excess body fat mass.”

Earlier research by Buchholz and colleagues at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute showed that the number of fat cells in a person’s body is established during their teenage years, regardless of whether they are slim or overweight. Changes in fat mass in adulthood can be attributed mainly to changes in fat cell volume, not an increase in the actual number of fat cells.

The latest findings indicate that fat generally is replaced six times during the 10-year life span of fat cells, which lets the body regulate fat storage dynamically over time. The slower output of fat in obese individuals leads to the accumulation of fat in the body, and a net increase in fat.

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