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New Studies Reveal That Adults Have Calorie-Burning Brown Fat

The (New) Deal With Calorie-Burning Fat

After decades of believing that humans lose energy-producing "brown" fat after infancy, when we develop the shivering response, three new studies have found that it still exists in all adults. According to the New York Times,"brown fat basically acts like a furnace, consuming calories and generating heat." All three accounts are summarized in today's New England Journal of Medicine and reach the identical conclusion that brown fat is a calorie-burning machine when triggered by chilly temperatures between 61 and 66 degrees.

Most brown fat has been identified in the neck and collarbone areas, and if stimulated it could be an efficient way to burn the bad whitish-colored fat in the body. Here's what else the researchers discovered:

  • Leaner adults have much more brown fat than obese individuals.
  • Those with normal blood sugar levels have more brown fat than people with high blood sugar.
  • Women have a greater amount of this type of fat than men.
  • Younger people have more brown fat than older people.

This is exciting news on the obesity front, because if scientists can find a way to activate brown fat with a pill, it would be the first to focus on burning energy rather than suppressing appetite.


Join The Conversation
Alexus-Kassidy Alexus-Kassidy 8 years
"That's right," the man said. "I couldn't remember the word." He was the only t, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. The website currently has more than 175 million active users in amount of visitors, making Facebook the most popular social network, followed by MySpace and Twitter.other human at the loading dock this morning. The man didn't have a name, just a number, like the rest of the robots.Paris, at Night.
alxxxmx alxxxmx 8 years
please...they probably have it in the bag but dieting is such a multi billionaire business, the pill will either be very expensive if available, or it'll never happen so the dieting enterprise can thrive even more
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 8 years
I wouldn't be interested in any kinds of pills that activate this fat, but I would be interested to find out if there are certain foods that do this. Pills every day, filled with junk I know nothing about? No thanks. Finding out that a fresh fruit, veggie or specific type of meat does the same thing? Yeah, I think I could incorporate that into my diet. :)
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I saw this on the news last night. It will be years before there is a pill for this. If there even comes a pill after the human studies (which are just now starting) are finished. It's interesting, but I still haven't decided how I feel about it. littlekaren - I agree. 'Brown fat' is an odd term.
littlekaren littlekaren 8 years
I just can't get over the phrase "brown fat." Can we call it something ELSE?
MrsRachel MrsRachel 8 years
Ditto, Spectra!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Interesting, but I'm still kind of skeptical about messing with fat metabolism via pills. Most of the research that's been done on rerouting biochemical pathways in the bodies of mice have resulted in the mice developing fatty/diseased livers and dying early. So they get to be thinner, but they die more quickly. Still, I would be interested in learning more about what studies have been done so far to figure out how to activate this brown fat.
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