We are born with a set number of fat cells that never changes.
False: Researchers have found that our pool of fat cells increases through childhood and adolescence and levels off as an adult -- then doesn't change. The number of fat cells we end up with does seem to be linked to our genetics.
Fat cells do serve a biological purpose.
True: The main role of fat cells is to store energy, cushion major body organs and insulate the body. They also produce hormones and secrete a variety of substances that are important in our metabolism. But when the cells are larger, they secrete these substances at higher levels, which can cause health problems related to obesity: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, liver disease and certain types of cancer.
Losing weight doesn't eliminate fat cells; it just makes them smaller.
True: When you lose weight the amount of fat being stored in the cell decreases. And although recent research has proven that fat cells do die, they are replenished at the same rate so their numbers stay the same. Surgery and liposuction can remove fat cells, but researchers disagree over whether your body regenerates them to maintain your body's "normal" level.
If you cut way back on your calorie intake you'll shrink fat cells and lose weight.
False: When you don't eat enough calories to maintain basic functions, your body goes into "starvation" mode, and will store even more fat in your fat cells the next time you eat. Studies have shown that people who eat three meals a day generally keep metabolism on track and are less likely to overeat.
You can't target one area of your body for shrinking fat.
True: Despite every promise you see to the contrary, your body burns stored fat everywhere, not from one specific place.
Eating fatty foods is more likely to make you fat.
False: Fat comes from calories. So if you eat too many calories, whether it's in a big salad or a big burger, you'll gain weight. The caveat is that there are generally more calories in high-fat foods, so it takes fewer of them to eat a higher number of calories.
You can't be healthy if you're overweight.
False: People can be fit, physically, and still carry excess body fat.