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Use This "Rusty" Colored Fat To Get A Flat Belly?

 

Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES
 

Exercising and eating right are keys to making us healthy and fit.  By watching what we eat and exercising, we burn extra calories that might later be converted to fat stores.

Holding extra weight in the form of adipose tissue has been linked to numerous health conditions, namely Diabetes, certain Cancers, and Heart Disease.

Holding on to fat can provide the body with the necessary insulation from cold winter months, and also helps to fuel our bodies when at rest or used as a main energy source during aerobic exercise. 

This “storage tank” of energy is what most of us want to lose in order to reduce our chances of developing a chronic disease later.

Most of us have heard the term, "adipose tissue," which is the white fat tissue that covers the majority of our bodies and provides us with that insulation and energy source. 

However, not everyone has heard of the good type of fat, or "Brown" Fat.


During infant years, our bodies are covered with this brown fat.  This type of fat uses calories to burn energy to keep us
warm.

What was once thought to be a bad type of fat, researchers are finding out that brown fat is useful at calorie expenditure and, possibly in the future, as a way to lose and maintain weight. 

Even though Brown Fat is hard to detect in the body, researchers believe that three ounces of brown fat can burn hundreds of calories per day.

In adults, brown fat is located mainly in the front of the neck and stretching down the chest.

You might ask, "What makes this type of fat, brown?"

Brown fat is full of mitochondria, or as my exercise physiology teacher used to call them, little powerhouses that burn fat as energy.

These little powerhouses are the main reason why we burn fat during aerobic exercise -  because fatty acids travel in, and are used as energy sources to fuel our workout.

In one study, people were subjected to chilly conditions with less than adequate clothing to see the effects of brown fat located in the neck. 

The results of this research showed that the brown fat was 15 times more metabolically active than the white fat.

This shows that brown fat possibly has metabolic effects, which might add to weight loss and further expenditure of calories.

The mitochondria in brown fat are different than that of other cells. 

Their main job is the same: to use fat as energy to keep us warm as infants, or to help burn calories as adults, but in brown fat, there is less storage of the fatty acids, which means they require more fatty acids to burn to keep us warm. 

So they keep on burning fat no matter what.

The great news for women, especially younger woman, is that they tend to have more brown fat stores than elderly women or obese men. 

The same research demonstrated that women were twice as likely to have more brown fat stores in the body than men. 

Researchers have also shown that Brown fat can be found deep in the body as late as 80 years of age.

 

 

Researchers are trying new ways to develop brown fat in the body, or to see if the body can reproduce this substance to help combat the obesity trends. 

 

 

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References:

N Engl J Med. 2009;360:1500–1508, 1509–1517, 1518–1525, 1553–1556.

Fain, J. Reed, N. Saperstein, R. The Isolation and Metabolism of Brown Fat Cells.  J. Biologic. Chem. Vol. 242,(8) pp. 1887-1894.

Rothwell, N.J., and M.J. Stock. 1979. A role for brown adipose tissue in diet-induced thermogenesis. Nature. 281:31–35.

Foster, D.O., and M.L. Frydman. 1979. Tissue distribution of cold-induced thermogenesis in conscious warm- or cold-acclimated rats reevaluated from changes in tissue blood flow: the dominant role of brown adipose tissue in the replacement of shivering by nonshivering thermogenesis. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol.57:257–270.

Saito, M. Ogura, Y. Matshushita, M. Watanabe, K. Yoneshiro, T. Kobayashi, J. Iwanaga, T. Miyagawa, M. Kameya, T.

Nakada, K. Kawai, Y. Tsujisaki, M.  High Incidence of Metabolically Active Brown Adipose Tissue in Healthy Adult Humans. Effects of Cold Exposure and Adiposity.  Diabetes. Vol. 58. July 2009. Pp. 1526-1531.

The Endocrine Society (2011, June 19). Calorie-burning brown fat is a potential obesity treatment, researchers say. ScienceDaily. harmacol.57:257–270.

The Endocrine Society (2009, June 12). Adults, Especially Women, Have Calorie-burning 'Brown Fat'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 28, 2011