What’s the Difference Between Brown Fat and White Fat?

Woman Cold Plunge
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If you’ve struggled with weight loss problems then white fat may be an old enemy. This is the type of fat that stores energy in large oily droplets, eventually leading to obesity. Though no one likes body fat, there is a type of fat that is helpful to the human body. It’s known as brown fat or brown adipose tissue.

What is Brown Fat?
Brown fat is activated when our bodies get cold or when we shiver. It helps us maintain our body temp even under the coldest conditions. It contains more mitochondria than other types of fat and these tiny organelles serve as “furnaces” that burn calories and produce heat. At this time, a great deal of research is being done to find more ways to turn on brown fat so it can burn calories and help us lose weight.

Another thing that stimulates our hormones and activates brown fat is exercise or any type of physical activity. Even a brisk walk could “turn on” brown fat and cause it to begin using regular body fat as fuel. So, it’s important to include some physical activities in any weight loss plan.

Brown fat gets its chestnut color from the fact that it contains smaller droplets of oil and higher amounts of mitochondria. These fatty droplets generate the heat our bodies require in cold temperatures. Even in newborn infants, this tissue provides the necessary heat to keep a baby warm.

New Studies in This Field
The scientific community once believed that all brown fat disappeared by the time we become adults. But in 2009, a new study done by the New England Journal of Medicine proved that adults can also have brown fat. Now researchers are looking for ways to use brown fat to help us burn calories and reduce the amount of white fat in our bodies.

The study of the body’s various types of fat is leading to new discoveries in weight loss.

Aaron Cypress, MD, Ph.D. of Harvard Medical School comments: “Fat is one of the most fascinating organs out there. We are only now beginning to understand fat.”

Other researchers are delving into the study of brain health and fat tissues. They believe that fat has more functions in the body than anyone could have believed. It’s apparent that body fat serves more than just the two purposes we’ve always known about:

  • Storing excess calories away for times when you’re hungry
  • Releasing hormones that control metabolism

Can We End Obesity for Good?
It has now been demonstrated that there are several ways to “turn on” brown fat and cause it to use up the white fat. This results in weight loss because when activated, brown fat burns white fat. With a better understanding of this complex topic, we may have new weapons to fight obesity.

Of course, we can’t all live in cold climates where we shiver a lot, and no one wants to exercise every single day. However, as research continues, doctors will discover more ways to activate brown fat and get it to work for us. Brown fat could be the solution we’ve all waited for and end the obesity problem for good!