Did you know that our bodies have both brown and white fat?
White fat (white adipose tissue: WAT), or triglycerides, is ugly! It is relatively inactive and does not require much energy at all to be maintained, so bodies with more white fat than lean muscle have a lowered metabolism, which makes them even more susceptible to store calories as fat–a snowball effect in which they lose the ability to burn calories efficiently and become fatter as time goes on.
Brown fat (BAT) is a heat source for the core of the body. Found on the back of the neck, around arteries and nestled around organs of high metabolic activity, it keeps them at a constant temperature. Brown fat is alive! It has nerve fibers and leptin receptors. When leptin levels go up, they turns on energy consumption in the brown fat and burns it. Basically, brown fat wastes calories! If we eat more calories than we need on a given day or meal, our BAT burns off the excess as heat. Active brown fat works efficiently to keep weight stable. Unfortunately, BAT activity diminishes with age or when thyroid function is diminished. The more white fat we have, the less we need brown fat. BAT can even change into WAT! Stress inhibits brown fat thermogenesis, as well as infrequent food consumption, eating large meals, high-sugar diet and low-fat diets. So don’t do it!
How can you encourage the thermogenic activity of your stores of BAT?
~Diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids promotes BAT activity: olive and flaxseed oil, deep sea fish
~Green tea stimulates brown fat thermogenesis.
~Moderate exercise to heat up the furnace
Simple, isn’t it?