I’ve always been under the impression that our fat cells can only hold so much. After we’ve reached their max capacity new cells are created to store the excess fat. According to a new study out of Mayo Clinic this might not be the whole story.

Participants were told to eat until they are full and then include one to four daily “supplements” ( a king-size snicker bar, Boost Plus “nutritional energy drink,” or an ice cream shake). Each had about 350 to 500 calories. I could have easily qualified for this study over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Participants gained an average of 10lbs over the eight week period including 8.5lbs of fat. What was interesting about the study is that the fat cells in the stomach increased in size, but not is number. On the other hand, fat cells in the thighs increased in number and size. The average participant added 2.6 billion fat cells during the course of the study.

The good news about this study is that belly fat is thought to be more closely related to diabetes and heart disease. Because there was not an increase in fat cells in the abdominal region the affect on these diseases is expected to be less than if there was an increase of fat cells. This doesn’t mean that you have the green light to eat four king-sized Snickers everyday.

The bad news about this study is that it was done over a short time period. It is thought that extended weight gain could lead to the production of more fat cells in the belly region.

What to do?

You could start with not eating like the participants in this study.  The average participant gained 10lbs in 8 weeks, extrapolate that over a year and they would be packing on 65lbs a year!

If there is one thing that I would recommend to keep your weight in check, it would be to replace sugary drinks and diet sodas with water.  There are a number of studies that show the weight loss benefits of drinking water.  Put a water bottle on your desk and make sure to drink a couple bottles full each day.  If you don’t have a bottle, stop in the office and I will give you one.

You might wonder why I added diet sodas to the list. There has been a number of studies that link diet sodas to an increase in type 2 diabetes and appetite.  These drinks are also very acidic which can lead to a number of health issues outside of weight gain.

The New Year is right around the corner.  Adding more water to your diet would be a simple way to start off the year in a healthy way.

We have recently added a Healthy Recipe section to our website that can be found by clicking here.