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Booty Vs. Belly: Fat Cells Grow Differently

Differences in the way your body fat grows could explain why belly fat increases the risk for certain diseases, while fat on the thighs and lower body decreases the risk.

A study looked at 28 volunteers who were allowed to eat almost anything they wanted for eight weeks. On average, the participants put on 5.5 pounds of upper body fat and 3.3 pounds of lower body fat. And the researchers discovered that the cellular mechanisms were different -- accumulation of abdominal fat happens largely by individual cells expanding in size, while fat gain in the lower body happens through an increase in the actual number of cells.

USA Today reports:

“The findings challenge the idea that the number of fat cells remain stable in adults ... The results also added support to the theory that an increase in production of lower-body fat cells may somehow help protect the upper body, which in turn may help prevent what is known as metabolic disease”.

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