Brown fat versus white fat?

Watch for more hype about brown fat. Brown fat was once believed to be present in newborn babies and then gradually disappears and/or turns into normal fat as age progresses and more muscle begins to develop. It was once thought that by the time you reach full adulthood, it is no longer present in your body, so it is unusual that in adulthood you still have brown fat. White fat retains calories, while brown fat does the opposite by burning calories.

Very little is known about brown fat, however, a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that this special fat can help you burn more calories throughout the day. The origin of brown fat is derived from muscle and doctors believe that it can stimulate growth in humans, as laboratory studies have shown that it can be increased in mice. In the next decade or so, it is believed that a procedure could be developed for obese people to help them control their weight. It is believed that one of the ways brown fat can be increased is by exercising in cold weather. More studies in adults are needed.

Until then my recommendation? Go out and exercise please. If we spend as much time exercising as we do trying to avoid it, we will find that regular and intentional exercise can bring us:

  • elevated moods and a better outlook on life
  • offsets the tendency to develop chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis
  • easier time with weight maintenance
  • strengthening the cardiorespiratory system, which includes the heart, lungs
  • sleep better at night, including falling asleep faster and having more restful sleep
  • increased better circulation which in turn leads to a better sex life, less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction
  • being able to exercise more can lead to more enjoyment of activity which, in turn, can lead to wanting to try more activities, which in turn keeps you active!

Instead of waiting for that magic pill to prevent you from exercising, you might just start enjoying it.

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