What color is your fat?

Ask what brown can do for you

 

It turns out that body fat does have a purpose (beyond storing energy, keeping us warm and making us look bad when we wear tight pants).

 

Body fat also plays a role in hormone production.

 

According to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research, fat is an active organ that sends chemical signals to other parts of the body. Rather than just sitting there and doing nothing, fat cells can secrete certain hormones and other substances much like other organs do. Among those hormones is leptin, which controls appetite, and adiponectin, which makes the body more sensitive to insulin and controls blood sugar levels. Fat cells also play a role in metabolizing certain hormones. DHEA and androstenedione are metabolized in your fat cells along with testosterone which is converted to estrogen.

 

It would be incorrect to believe that your body fat has no other purpose other than to make you feel insecure in a bathing suit. The fact is that having some body fat is necessary for our health and survival. However all fat cells are not created equally. When we think of fat we think about the stuff we can see but there are actually several different types of body fat including white, visceral, subcutaneous and brown fat.

 

Brown adipose tissue fat (BAT) has garnered more attention as of late with the discovery that, when stimulated, it has the ability to burn a significant number of fat calories from other fat sources on the body. In one study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation researchers discovered that stimulating BAT fat by exposing subjects to a cold environment increased metabolism by 80 percent. BAT fat has a large number of mitochondria and as a result, produces a lot of heat. According to this study, “its thermogenic capacity is such that it allows mammals to live below thermo neutral conditions without having to rely on shivering muscles”. I never realized this before but apparently babies have more brown fat than adults do and this is why they don’t shiver when cold.

 

The problem is that adult human beings have very little of this type of fat. In fact, an average person may only have 2-3 ounces of BAT fat with leaner people having more than those with higher body fat levels.

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How to get more of the brown stuff

 

I know- bad sub heading but it does do the job! In order to find out how we can increase our bodies BAT supplies we need to know a bit more about brown fat’s cousin- white fat. Here is what we know about white fat- when compared to brown fat, white fat is far more abundant. Whereas brown fat has many mitochondria, white fat has very few. White fat increases rapidly with increased calorie intake and its job is to store energy and produce hormones. White fat tends to be lost quite easily (and evenly) when calories are reduced. Researchers have recently discovered a new hormone called irisin which converts white fat into the metabolically active brown fat mentioned above. This occurs when people exercise and is why the calories burned during exercise exceed the number actually used during the activity (maybe that’s why those calorie counters on some cardio machines seem so generous). According to a study published in the International Weekly Journal of Science, exercise training induces the expression of the FNDC5 gene in human muscle, producing irisin, which can convert white fat into brown fat, so enhancing metabolic uncoupling and hence caloric expenditure.

 

To sum things up it appears that this is yet another very good reason as to why diet must be accompanied by exercise for optimal results.

 

 

This post was written by

Bruce – who has written posts on Cutting edge muscle building and fat loss secrets.
bruce krahn is a best-selling author, writer, researcher, personal trainer and professional speaker. he has coached people for two decades both in person and online. he created this site to be an honest source of useful, practical information you can use to improve your health, build muscle, lose fat and get the lean body look.

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About

bruce krahn is a best-selling author, writer, researcher, personal trainer and professional speaker. he has coached people for two decades both in person and online. he created this site to be an honest source of useful, practical information you can use to improve your health, build muscle, lose fat and get the lean body look.

One Response to “What color is your fat?”

  1. Eileen says:

    Hi! Well researched and interesting article.

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