Fat is bad. That’s what we have always been told.
But, what if there is a special kind of fat? Imagine a fat that is not only good, but, burns calories instead of storing them. Is there a fat that actually increases your metabolism? Well there is such a fat and it is called brown fat, and brown fat is good. Brown fat makes up a small amount of an adults total body fat, which is mostly white fat. A baby is born with an abundance of brown fat to help keep them warm. As adults we retain only a small portion of brown fat, usually in the neck, upper chest and shoulders. Brown fat differs from white fat because brown fat burns fats called lipids and white fat stores lipids.
Researchers have found that the FDA approved drug mirabegron, used to treat an overactive bladder, may boost brown fat’s metabolic powers. This finding may be a promising tool in combatting obesity. This research was published in the January 6th issue of Cell Metabolism.
There is currently research being conducted on how to increase brown fat, or convert white fat to brown fat.
One possible way to naturally increase brown fat is exposure to cold. Some new research, suggests that by keeping your house cooler or taking a walk in the winter, we may be able to stimulate brown fat, burn excess white fat, and lose weight. When we get cold, cells in brown fat release a hormone that boosts their ability to burn fat. Best estimates are that we may be able to burn 300-400 calories per day by chilling out. Combined with healthier eating habits and exercise, setting the thermostat to 66 degrees, can aid in fat burning and weight loss. One added benefit found in a 2013 study that brown fat shielded rats from blood sugar problems. If these results are found to be true in humans, this could be a step in helping to manage diabetes.