What is Brown Fat?

April 16th, 2009

Brown fat has been in the news a lot lately and you're probably wondering what it is and more importantly, how it can help you lose weight. Brown fat it's a type of fat that is filled with mitochondria which burn a lot more energy than normal white fat.

You can't really use it to lose weight because it's something you don't have any control over. If you go back to your high school biology class, the mitochondria is the power plant of the cell. Since brown fat has a lot more mitochondria than white fat, it burns a lot more energy.

It's thought that the purpose of brown fat is to help keep the body warm, especially in babies by burning fat and converting it to heat. Adults can keep warm by shivering but an infant's ability to shiver is limited. Researchers used to think that once we grew up, we lost most of out brown fat because instead of burning fat, our body could just shiver to stay warm.

New studies have shown that some of us keep brown fat well into our adult years. So what does this have to do with weight loss? Nothing, yet. If researchers can figure out a way to stimulate brown fat, it could speed up the body's metabolism which will help burn more calories. Until then, you're stuck with dieting and exercise to lose weight. Sorry.