Last week we looked at where the fat goes when you lose weight. It is worth noting that there are different kinds of fat cells in your body, and from a metabolic standpoint, they respond differently. They even appear to have different biological functions.
Furthermore, fat is stored in different parts of the body and affects our health accordingly.
Before getting into white versus brown fat, let us briefly go over the dangers of visceral fat. The above picture shows that “intra-abdominal fat” is stored around our vital organs (liver, kidneys, gall bladder, colon and small intestines). These organs are what give us life, thus the name visceral fat. It is also called deep fat.
Fat cells that surround our vital organs, visceral fat, secretes chemicals and free radicals that can lead to:
- Heart Disease
- Type II diabetes
- Arousal dysfunction.
Subcutaneous fat, the fat under your skin, is soft and squishy but does not have so many adverse health implications, given above, that visceral fat has.
As visceral fat is located in the back of your rectus abdominus , stomach muscles, it is not soft and squishy; in fact a friend of mine was bragging about how “hard” his stomach was even though the circumference of his waist was probably 40-45 inches (101.6 – 114.3 cm.).
As I seem to repeat in almost all the posts, eat properly and exercise, this time to GET RID OF YOUR VISCERAL FAT.
WHITE VERSUS BROWN FAT
For a number of years, scientists have been studying brown fat, a type of fat that generates heat that burns energy instead of storing it.
It’s called brown fat because it is brown; the reason being that it is made up of heat-producing cells full of mitochondria, and iron is attached to proteins in these mitochondria.
Brown fat is now thought to be more like muscle than white fat. When activated, for example when you are cold, brown fat burns white fat.
Research has shown that certain groups of people tend to have more brown fat than others, and there appears to be a direct correlation between the activation of brown fat and metabolic measures of good health. For example:
- Slender people have more brown fat than obese people
- Younger people have more brown fat than elderly people
- People with normal blood sugar levels have more brown fat than those with high blood sugar.
HOW TO TRANSFORM WHITE FAT INTO HEALTHIER BROWN FAT
Newborns have a supply of brown fat to keep them warm, but most of these stores are lost by the time adulthood is reached. However, although you have far less of it as an adult, scientists have found that you can activate the brown fat still present in your body by exposing yourself to cold temperatures.
Take another look at “Ice or Heat for Treating Injuries?” published June 3, 2016.
When exposed to cold temperatures your body burns more calories to keep warm, and the evidence suggest that ice therapy can, therefore, be helpful for boosting weight loss.
Animal research has also shown that animals convert white fat to brown fat simply by exercising.
The human metabolism is extremely complex. On the one hand, exercise helps convert unhealthy white fat into healthier, heat-producing and more metabolically active, brown fat. Exercise also increases the oxidation of fat, which, as we explained last week, leaves your body via your lungs, in the form of carbon dioxide, and your body fluids, in the form of water.
YOUR WEIGHT REFLECTS YOUR LIFESTYLE COICES
I know that you are probably going to say: Oh no he’s going to give us his usual lifestyle advice again. Yes, but that’s what life is all about friends.
I’ll be as brief as possible.
- Exercise regularly, and stay active all day
- Consider intermittent fasting
- Buy and consume real food, preferably whole organic and locally grown
- Opt for grass fed beef and free range chickens
- Opt for glass packaging and storage containers
OK my friend, that’s it for this week.