Thursday, 12 May 2016

Why do obese regain weight ?

I suppose this question has been done and answered to death, including here on this blog, but theres a very very simple reason why obese people regain weight, and its EXACTLY the same reason that they got to their obese state in the first place.

I recently watched this excellent video by  Brian  who describes his theory of the "sponge syndrome" which is basically just another way of phrasing what I have been trying to say here on this blog. I.E. obesity involves recruitment of stem cells in adipose tissue called "pre-adipocytes" which morph into fully mature adipocytes and accumulate fat. And diet/exercise DOES not cause them to un-morph back into fat-less stem cell preadipocytes.

The reason reduced obese regain weight is exactly the same reason they got fat in the first place, with induction of adipogenesis in pre-adipocytes, ( adipogenesis being the phrase meaning the pathway of a pre-adipocyte morphing into an adipocyte ) the activity and load of enzymes involved in triglyceride synthesis increase massively, its been described here

When cells of the established preadipose line 3T3-L1 enter a resting state, they accumulate triglyceride and convert to adipose cells. The adipose conversion is brought about by a large increase in the rate of triglyceride synthesis
and this 

Glycerophosphate acyltransferase activity rises sharply during the conversion and reaches a level of 80 times higher than that of another 3T3 subline in which practically no adipose conversion takes place

And I blogged here about this.

So... a pre-adipocyte stores no fat....  CICO is irrelevant

Suddenly adipogenesis pathway activated, lipogenesis gene's switched on, Glycerophosphate acyltransferase activity rises, and Triglycerides accumulate........ again CICO irrelevant.

Go on a diet and exercise heavily, empty most of your fat cells to a smaller volume, but guess what, the excess adipocytes are still there, and because the excess number of adipocytes are still there.... excess amount of Glycerophosphate acyltransferase activity IS STILL THERE.

So guess what happens with time as Glycerophosphate acyltransferase activity remains elevated? Triglycerides ( fat ) accumulates again, and you regain weight.

Its really not hard at all.

P.S. I know Glycerophosphate acyltransferase is not the only enzyme involved in trig synthesis etc. Im just picking it out as an easy to understand example.


  1. Hi Kindke,
    thanks for sharing your insights about regaining the lost weight. Your blog was the inspiration for a series of blog posts I wrote a while ago. This is the first one. They are written in Spanish language.

    I have one question for you. I lost 24 kg some time ago and I've been ex-obese for 30 months now. I don't count calories, I eat real food. Do you think each year I manage to stay ex-obese, I increase my chances of, some day, having a normal metabolism?


    1. I would like to say yes but I think probably not but I cannot be absolutely sure.

      Genetics really complicates biology. Although I am still obese at 15stone at my heaviest I was 19.5 stone, so I am quite weight reduced. I have yo-yo'd alot over the last 13 years between 14stone and 16 stone, and for me it feels like my body tries to pull me back to 18-19stone. If I let myself go and eat whatever I want I know I will definitely go back there.

      so for me even though it has been many years since my "heaviest" weight my body still pulls me there. I dont really blame my metabolism, I can feel what my problem is, the fat tissue is constantly trying to suck up and retain fat, and this feels most pronounced in response to insulin and carb meals.

      I think dont worry about your "metabolism" , just stick to eating real foods. I do cheat alot myself tbh with junk, but there's no way I should gain weight at the rate I do when I cheat. It is a clear indication of fat tissue lipophilia.

    2. I had a quick read through your blog too although it is bit tricky to read because google translator and I dont speak spanish I would agree with everything you write and its good a post/research.

      I am very pessimistic when it comes to obesity reversal mainly because of my own obesity, I cant get and stay under 190lbs its impossible.

    3. Hi Kindke,
      thanks for your reply and for trying to read my blog, although I am sure you already know all the main ideas on those posts. Speaking different languages is a curse.

      I am sorry to read about your weight problems. I didn't know that. Your experience is, nevertheless, very interesting.

      This is me at my highest (ca. 15 stones). I hope my problem wasn't hyperplasia but hypertrophy.

      You deserve a lot of credit for what you have published in your blog about hyperplasia/adipogenesis.

    4. hey thanks again I think I was probably a bit fatter than you at my heaviest.

      However not everyone experiences obesity in the same way, some people experience alot of hypertrophy which is easily cured by low carbing, some people experience alot of hyperplasia which is impossible to reverse, and some people experience a mixture of them both

      the bottom line is obviously the less hyperplasia you experience and the more hypertrophy you get the easier it will be to maintain weight loss.

      my problem is basically all the subcutaneous fat especially around my mid-section I have huge hyperplasia there and my mum gained fat in a very similar distribution. My mum has been strict low carb for almost 6 months but her fat loss stalled after 12kg of loss. she is still very obese but it is all subcutaneous hyperplastic fat, just like me. Her health markets have improved drastically and the doctors are happy with her blood work but again, shes still obese -.-

  2. Hi Kindke,
    have you watched this video?

    Tommy lost a lot of weight, he is a serious low-carber, but he still has a lot of fat? around his midsection. May be I am wrong, but that is what I see in the video.


    1. yes he is by no means "lean" but he is much slimmer than he used to be so im sure hes happy with that,

      He undoubtedly has excess fat cells which is what you see around his mid-section, theres likely a lower limit to how much you can shrink fat cells, so he will be stuck with these extra fat cells (which are waiting to be refilled) unless he has liposuction.

      Fat cells around the belly area are not like fat cells from most other areas on the body, there are extremely sensitive to lipogenic pathways and pre-adipocytes there differentiate more easily. This is why is many many people there is always subcutaneous fat around the belly. Even if most other areas look slim

  3. I don't doubt he is happy. What I think is that we are not telling fat people the whole story:

    "Tommy lost a lot of weight!"

    Yeah, he did, but he is not lean and is never going to be lean, no matter what he eats (unless he undergoes liposuction).

    Could "low-carb then liposuction then low-carb/paleo for the rest of your days" be a cure for obesity?

    "The hard fact therefore is that there is no cure" AG Dulloo