You may never truly beat the bulge, a new study suggests. Even when people lose weight, they don’t lose fat cells. The cells just shrink. A Cold War relic helped researchers in Sweden and their colleagues figure out the birth dates of fat cells in adults. Tracking the birthdays of belly-building cells uncovered some mixed news. First, the good news — adults lose about 10 percent of fat cells each year. But the bad news is that all those cells are replaced. Obese people have about twice the number of fat cells as normal-weight adults, and fat cells are bigger in the obese people than in their lean counterparts, the researchers reported August 4 in an advanced online publication of Nature. The results could help explain why many people have difficulty maintaining significant weight loss. But the excuse doesn’t fly with all obesity experts.
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