We’re usually told that having fat in our bodies isn’t a good thing — but in the case of the elusive brown fat, the opposite is true. A type of fat thought to be found only in rodents and infants, brown fat is a metabolically-active fat cell that actually burns calories and other fat, particularly when your body is cold.
Until recently, researchers weren’t sure if brown fat was found in adults — but studies have confirmed past findings to show that adults do possess this magical form of fat.
Read more about brown fat below to see how this discovery could be the key for weight loss!
Brown Fat & Weight Loss
Researchers in Britain used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to detect brown fat tissue in a living adult. While previous research had identified active brown fat in adults, this is the first time the presence of actual brown fat tissue has been proven.
Why is this such a breakthrough? Researchers say that the MRI data opens the door for more studies that examine how we can capitalize on brown fat. For example, we can use the MRI scans to estimate how much brown fat an average human adult possesses, plus develop ways to boost brown fat levels.
This has huge implications for weight loss because brown fat is different from white fat — which grows in size as it stores our extra energy — while brown fat expends energy. Essentially, after our bodies use the calories they need to function, the extra food would end up stored in regular fat cells, but any active brown fat will prevent this fat storage, thus preventing weight gain.
So who has brown fat?
So far, research has not conclusively established how many adults have brown fat, and broad estimates place the number between 5 – 50% of adults. It’s important to note that brown fat only appears in adults of normal weight or below, but is not present in obese individuals — meaning they can’t reap its weight loss benefits. Experts suggest that excess white fat in obese people might keep them warm enough when they are chilled, meaning they don’t need brown fat.
How can I activate my brown fat?
Experts agree that more research needs to be done before we can conclusively state how to trigger and develop more brown fat in adults. But preliminary findings suggest that cold temperatures and increased adrenaline and thyroid hormone levels could activate brown fat. Even better, research has shown that exercise can turn our existing white fat into brown fat!
How does physical activity create brown fat? Basically, when we exercise, our muscle cells release the hormone irisin, which converts the bad fat into good brown fat. Although this connection has only been studied and confirmed in mice thus far, humans produce the same hormone during exercise, which suggests that the same reaction would occur.
Want to capitalize on the calorie-burning powers of brown fat? Try a boxing or kickboxing workout at your local TITLE Boxing Club! With our intense Power Hour sessions, you’ll burn calories the old-fashioned way, plus produce more brown fat that will help with weight loss, too! Get started today by checking out the schedule at your nearest TITLE Boxing Club.