WLR’s nutritionist, Rachael Hill gives us fifteen fascinating fat facts that we didn’t know we wanted to know! Read on for a bit of fat fact fun.
1. We all need body fat to live. In fact, it is so essential to normal, healthy functioning that an average, size 10, slim female carries approximately 100,000 calories of fat on her body.
That’s equal to 54 packs of butter in total but before you get too depressed, it’s also enough to fuel the energy required to shop for 86 days!
2. Thinking can make you fat! Brand new research, conducted at Laval University in Canada has shown that although thinking hard and concentrating doesn’t require any extra calories, it does stimulate the body to feel hungrier.
So much so in fact that volunteers of the study that were asked to carry out mentally challenging tasks went on to eat 253 more calories (almost 30% more) in just one meal than those that were told to daydream.
3. Most people gain an average of just 1g of extra body fat a day – but before you reach for that second slice of cake consider this…
1 gram a day equals 365 grams of extra body fat a year.
A gain of 365g every year after the age of 25 would mean that by the time you hit your 50th birthday you’d have laid down an extra 20 lbs (almost one and a half stones) of excess body fat – or as it’s better known …middle aged spread!
4. A typical adult has approximately 50 billion fat cellswhich means there are more fat cells in one human body than there are people on the earth.
5. First the good news… fat cells generally do not increase in number after puberty so even if you gain weight the number of fat cells you have remains the same. Now the the bad news… Each fat cell simply gets bigger and can expand up to ten times its normal size.
6. Fat cells exist in all parts of the body except the eyelids, parts of the esophagus, the brain and the penis.
7. Female breasts are composed almost entirely of fat which is one reason why, when dieting, they tend to reduce in size long before you lose the wobble elsewhere!
8. Spot reduction, the term used for attempting to reduce fat by exercising the muscle underneath fat deposits (such as doing sit ups to get rid of abdominal fat or thigh raises to get rid of fat stored on the hips) does not work.
If it did, all gum chewers would have skinny faces!
9. 1 pound of body fat is equal to 3,500 calories. To burn off 3,500 calories the average woman would need to do 6 step classes, walk briskly for almost 9 hours or run for 33 miles.
To eat 3,500 calories she’d need to chomp through almost 50 apples or just two and a half Indian takeaways.
10. At 9 calories per gram, fat is the most calorific nutrient we can eat.
Alcohol contains 7 Kcals per gram.
Protein and carbohydrate contain approximately 4 Kcals per gram.
11. The places you predominantly store fat and the places you lose it from first are largely determined by your gender (women tend to store it around their hips, bottom and thighs, men around their abdomen) and your genes – so choose your parents wisely!
12. Fat cells live for an average of ten years. Once a fat cell dies the body makes a brand new one to take its place.
However, once brain cells die they are gone for good which is why as we age we may lose our memory but love handles can stay for life!
13. Fat cells die at the rate of 150 per second.
14. An average fat cell can only store half a millionth of a gram of fat therefore it takes 4 million fat cells to store the energy equivalent of a Tic Tac.
15. The ‘Tape Worm Diet’ is one of the craziest diets ever invented to reduce body fat.
Under the plan, followers simply swallow tapeworms then allow them to sit inside their intestines and dine off their dinner.
Apart from the bit where you actually eat the worm and the side effects of bloating, nausea, and diarrhoea there was a very real danger that the worms could lay eggs in other tissues, such as the nervous system, which could cause seizures, dementia and meningitis.