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The C Word, Explained

Dec 23, 2009

Q: What is cellulite?

A: It's basically pockets of excess fat that have squeezed between the bands of tissue connecting muscle to skin.  Unfortunately, we don't know whi it happens or how to stop it before is starts.

Q: Why do women get cellulite more frequently than men?

A: Estrogen plays a role, plus women typically have more body fat than men.  But the main reason is that bands connecting skin and muscle are different on men that they are on women.  Men have thicker bands, there are more of them, and they form a crisscross pattern (as opposed to the vertical pattern on women's bodies).  That keeps the fat in place so it doesn't pucker.

Q: Why do even skinny women have it?

A: Unfortunately, you don't need a lot of body fat to have cellulite.  Even the thinnest women have some layer of fat between their muscles and skin, and everybody has the bands that the fat can push through.

Q: Does Cellulite increase with age?

A: Not necessarily.  After puberty, anyone can get cellulite.  But as you age your skin loses elasticity and you're likely to reduce muscle and gain fat, all which will increase cellulite.

Q: If your mom has it, are you doomed as well?

A: Genetics definitely plays a role, both in how likely your body is to store fat and how much the bands of tissue pull down on the fat.  If you stay fit, you're more likely to have less fat on your body and more muscle, which means you'll develop less cellulite.

Q: Can the foods you eat decrease or increase cellulite?

A: Diet plays a role in affecting how much fat you carry around, so avoding high- calorie foods will prevent  weight gain, which means you'll have less body fat and therefore less cellulite.  But there are no magic foods that will banish cellulite once you have it.

Q: Why is it mostly on the legs and butt?

A: That's where most women store fat!

Q: Does the supplement CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) reduce cellulite as claimed?

A: No. Despite some animal studies showing that CLA - a supplement derived from trans fats found in grass-fed beef and dairy - can minimize body fat and probably cellulite, the only this it will likely slenderize is your wallet.  In human studies, results have been inconclusive.  Many

Fitness Magazine, June 2008


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