Thursday, April 9, 2009

Brown Body Fat Burns Calories, Keeps You Trim

Wow, sounds confusing, doesn't it? Body fat being good for you and actually keeping you trim? Well, it's a bit more complicated than that. The kind of fat we're talking about here is a special type of body fat known quite simply as 'brown adipose tissue'. And it's kind of a big deal right now - so big, in fact, that the New England Journal of Medicine has just published three articles on it and everyone seems to be buzzing about it this morning!

In one study, the authors found that the more brown adipose tissue their participants had, the higher their resting metabolic rate was, and both were significantly lower in overweight or obese participants than in lean ones. Brown adipose tissue was more active in cold conditions, suggesting that it's important in thermoregulation and burns more calories in order to keep your body warm in cool conditions.

The next study found that the amount of brown adipose tissue in participants was inversely correlated with body mass index (BMI), meaning that they were skinnier over all with more of this type of fat. Women were found to have more brown adipose tissue than men, and it was also more prevalent in older adults.

And finally, the third study confirmed that brown adipose tissue is metabolically active and actually uses 15 time the glucose for energy as regular fat, which just stores it for future use.

This type of fat, which is largely found in infants, was thought to be completely irrelevant in adulthood, but now we're finding that this is definitely not true. This incredible discovery has some major potential to help overweight and obese individuals lose weight; there is already clamor about finding ways to harness the power of brown adipose tissue to make some kind of diet pill to help burn calories and shed extra pounds! Before you get too excited, realize that this could take years and years.....but keep an eye out because chances are good that you'll be hearing a heck of a lot more about this stuff in the time to come!