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brown fat

Can Brown Fat Make You Thin?

By activating the brown fat (BAT) in your body, you could promote weight loss and fat loss, without having to eat less or exercise more.

Until recently, scientists thought adults didn’t have brown fat. They thought it was there to help babies keep their bodies warm and went away as the body became more muscular.

But 3 new studies in the New England Journal of Medicine now show that more than half of adult men and women have enough brown fat in their bodies to burn off substantial amounts of white fat, if the brown fat is stimulated.

If the brown fat in this example were fully activated, it would burn an amount of energy equivalent to approximately 9 pounds of fat over the course of a year, the researchers calculate.

And that’s a low estimate, as this assumes only 50% activation of the brown fat.

Brown Fat and Health

As researchers looked into the mysteries of brown fat, they found that it is more closely related to muscle than to white fat. And recent studies suggested it might be possible to make the body produce more brown fat.

How does it work? Brown fat becomes activated when you’re cold. Activated brown fat burn s white fat as fuel. It’s a very inefficient process that gives off heat and consumes a lot of fat.

New studies show that:

  • Obese people have less brown fat than lean people do.
  • Men have less brown fat than women do.
  • Older people have less brown fat than younger people do.
  • People with high blood sugar have less brown fat than people with normal blood sugar.

They found a direct correlation between the activation of brown adipose tissue and metabolic measures that indicate the presence or absence of good health.

If fully stimulated, they calculate that 1.75 ounces of brown fat would account for one-fifth of a person’s total resting energy expenditure and that’s virtually all from burning off white fat, not sugar.

All of the researchers conclude that finding ways to promote brown fat activation will have a major impact on weight loss.

Most  personal trainers and nutritionists are not aware how to stimulate BAT.

Fortunately, there are several substances in natural foods that stimulate BAT activity very well when used correctly. Best known is caffeine. Studies indicate that a cup of ground arabica coffee on an empty stomach signals DNA to up-regulate the expression of uncoupling proteins, and increases oxygen consumption in BAT mitochondria, and increases resting metabolic rate.
Combined with green tea, caffeine is even better. Scientists do not yet understand why green tea synergistically increases the BAT effects of caffeine. But all we have to know is that it works. Green tea has a thermogenic effect itself, which was thought to be because of its caffeine content.
But recent studies show that green tea extract stimulates BAT thermogenesis to a much greater degree than could be caused by its small amount of caffeine. The latest evidence suggests that the abundant cathechins in green taa may be responsible.
Research has shown that the principle catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) induces thermogenesis by itself.
A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show dramatic effects of foods on weight control. In a 12-week study, 38 healthy,middle-aged men used a moderately reduced calorie diet, including oolong tea. The tea was made to contain either high levels of catechins from green tea or low levels (placebo). Men in the control group lost 2.9 pounds over the course of the 12 weeks.

The group consuming the tea with the green tea extract lost an average of 5.4 pounds. The researchers concluded that: Body weight, BMI, waist circumference, body fat mass, and subcutaneous fat area were significantly lower in the green tea extract group than in the control group.

In a larger study with a similar design, 240 obese individuals were given tea containing either high or low levels of catechins. Over 12 weeks, the high catechin group had significant declines in:

  • Body weight
  • Body mass index (BMI)
  • Body fat ratio
  • Body fat mass
  • Waist circumference
  • Hip circumference
  • Visceral fat

Green tea catechins have also been studied in combination with other possible thermogenic agents, including the capsaicin from hot peppers. In a recent placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, 80 overweight subjects who initially underwent a 4 week low calorie diet, were then randomized to receive a placebo or a supplement of capsaicin plus EGCG. After 8 weeks, subjects taking the supplement had a significantly greater loss in body fat mass, plus increased levels of thermogenesis.
A good lifestyle personal trainer/ nutritionist recommend the use of both caffeine and especially green tea, either in foods or as supplements.

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