How long could you live off body fat alone?

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In this extract from Fat: The Secret Organ, obesity researchers Mariette Boon and Liesbeth van Rossum explain the purpose of fat in the body and how long it can keep us going without food.

When we talk about the fuel ‘fat’, which is suspended in our blood and which can be absorbed and burned by organs, what we’re referring to are fatty acids. These are long ‘tails’, or chains, that are usually made up of 16 to eighteen carbon atoms.

Just like glucose, fatty acids are cleverly packaged so that large numbers of them can be stored without taking up too much space. You can compare it to a zip file on your computer. This is why fatty acids are stored in bunches of three in the form of what are known as ‘triglycerides’.

Thousands of tightly packed triglycerides are stored in a single fat cell. This is a huge amount of fuel, a real goldmine. As soon as you haven’t eaten for a few hours, or if you’ve been physically active for an extended period of time (for example, exercising or doing housework), this fuel will be tapped into.

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You Can Change Your Appearance With Exercise, But Not Overnight

Fitness Does Not Happen Overnight 

Carl Foster, an exercise physiologist at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, was amused by ads for a popular piece of exercise equipment. Before-and-after photos showed pudgy men and women turned into athletes with ripped bodies of steel. And it all happened after just 12 weeks of exercising for 30 minutes three times a week. Then there was the popular book, with its own before-and-after photos, promoting a program that would totally change your body in six weeks with three 20-minute exercise sessions a week.

Continue reading… “You Can Change Your Appearance With Exercise, But Not Overnight”