Billions of fat cells exist in all body types, sandwiched between the skin and muscle tissue, and it’s the size of these fat cells that determine a person’s weight.

So how does this build up of fatty deposits get broken down when you’re working on losing weight? Put simply, it involves a biochemical process that converts these space demanding molecules in fat cells into usable energy.

The entire process begins when you increase activity levels and reduce calorie intake. By consuming fewer calories than you’re burning, the body will react to the reduction of available energy by producing fat-mobilising hormones, which in turn signal important enzymes, which help break down fat reserves for more energy.

The key enzyme in this process is lipase. Lipase stimulates fat cells so that they release triglycerides (the form of fat within the fat cell). Each triglyceride molecule is then broken down into glycerol and three fatty acids.

The glycerol is broken down further by the liver to release energy, while the free fatty acids are transported directly to muscles via the bloodstream. The enzyme lipoprotein lipase helps the muscle cells absorb the fatty acids, which can be burned for extra energy.

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