Wednesday, 3 May 2017

'Good' Body Fat Promotes Weight Loss

We often hear people referring to good fats and bad fats. But when we think about these different kinds of fats, we are usually thinking about the fat in our food. I love good fats. I eat avocados all the time. Nuts too! But researchers in the USA, Finland and the Netherlands are studying a different 'good fat' - the kind we already have in our bodies. With tissue samples from patients, and using high-tech imaging, these three groups were able to determine how much sugar this brown adipose tissue actually burned. Scientists had thought that this good fat played a role in keeping infants warm, and that it becomes inactive or irrelevant in adulthood. Recent research is leading scientists to believe that this fat generates body heat, and burns calories.

Could we use this good fat to lose weight? 

To be specific, the two types of fat are completely different. The bad fat is white or yellow, and is found predominantly around the waistline. The good fat is more of a brownish colour, and found under the collar bone, and around the neck. This brown fat is called, brown adipose tissue. Since this brown fatty tissue contains more capillaries than white fat, it has an increased requirement for oxygen.

Scientists are learning that thinner people have more good fat than their overweight opposites, especially older overweight people; brown (good) fat burns more calories and helps generate more body heat in colder settings; and women usually had it more often than men. According to an abstract in the New England Journal of Medicine, the amount of brown adipose tissue has an inverse correlation with body mass index.

So how do we get more of this good fat? The idea of gaining fat to lose weight is something that has never crossed my mind. Looks like it might be time to take the Smart Watch off!

Researchers in Boston have been experimenting by injecting mice with specific genes to promote the growth of brown fat cells.Other researchers are suggesting that possibly turning the thermostat down could result in burning more energy. A small study is already underway, and results could be in by the end of the year.

The idea of turning down the thermostat to lose weight raises a few questions for me: Is that the reason why we eat so much in the winter? Is this why Europeans tend to be healthier than Americans? I'm considering conducting my own study this summer by turning my air conditioning thermostat way down. However, summer nights can be cold in my neck of the woods, and I don't really fancy going cold every night to conduct this test when I don't really have much fat to lose anyway! Does anyone else want to volunteer, lol.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right, I'm off to get some good fat. Brazil nuts, almonds and peanuts.