Monday, May 05, 2008
This study, reported in the New York times, confirms what some of us have known for years: Fat cells, like other matter, cannot be destroyed. Each adult has a certain number of fat cells, and that number remains constant throughout your life. When it comes to anything to do with metabolism, the body seems to be very efficient at seeking out and maintaining a state of homeostasis.
E.A. Sims' famous Vermont Prison Studies found that prisoners who were fed 75 percent more than normal gained relatively little weight, and quickly returned to their normal weights when their normal eating resumed, we've understood this mechanism. Notice that the word their is highlighted, because, as we know, there is no one weight that's "normal" for everyone.
So it's not surprising to find that the number of fat cells in an adult human remains more or less constant. But you can bet your sweet tooth that corporations--I mean obesity researchers--are going to keep scrambling to find ways to change that magic number.
So far, every effort we've made to futz with metabolism has either been unsuccessful or backfired and created more harm than good. Maybe we'd do well to take a more Buddhist approach: Your fat karma is unalterable, at least in this lifetime.