Understanding Fat

Fat is a yellowish tissue containing cells filled with chemicals such as cholesterol, triglyceride etc. The source of fat is the diet we eat. Fat performs important functions in animals, such as temperature regulation and protection. With evolution, these functions have lost their importance in man. On the contrary, excess fat is associated with several health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, hormone problems such as infertility etc.

Where is fat normally present?

Most of the fat is present in the skin – in an inner layer called subcutaneous layer. Smaller amounts are also present inside the abdomen. Fat in the skin contributes to the shape and appearance of the person. However, it is not uniformly distributed. Several areas such as buttocks, thigh s, abdominal wall have a greater amount of fat. When a person puts on weight, fat tends to get distributed more in these areas.

Does the total number of fat cells in the body increase as a person gains weight?

In the initial phase, when a person is gaining weight, there is an increase in the size of fat cells. However, there is a maximum size to which fat cells can grow. With significant weight gain, new fat cells are created from other body cells called fibro-blasts. Hence there is an increase in both the size and number of fat cells in the human body when a person gains a large amount of weight. When a patient loses weight by dieting, the fat cells simply shrink in size but do not necessarily diminish in number. It is far more difficult to decrease this number of fat cells. Liposuction is a method of decreasing the fat cell number.

What is resistant fat?

In women and men, fat deposits may be formed beneath the chin and on the flanks, hips, abdomen, inner and outer thighs, knees, and lower legs. This fat does not reduce even after dietary programs and slimming machines and is called resistant. Liposuction is a procedure to remove such fat and bring about improvement in the appearance of the person.