ALL FAT IS NOT THE SAME
We all know there’s good and bad cholesterol. It turns out that there is also good and bad fat.
White fat is considered bad. It is distributed to widely throughout the body. These specialized cells is store lipids or adipocytes. They are defined in childhood and stay steady throughout life. 10% of the cells are renewed each year. The main determinants of obesity are the number of adipocytes and their societies.
All fat cells in the body stay the same, since new cells are offset by an equal loss of cells that die. Losing weight as an adult only shrinks the mass of the cells, which is quickly recovered by new cells.
It’s hard to maintain the weight you reached after a reducing diet since the new fat cells that laid down fat after weight reduction need to quickly grow in lipids. The adipocytes start to grow around the age of two and grows twice as fast in people with obesity. It also stops at the age of 16.
It does have its benefits by storing excess energy and providing us with a layer of insulation that keeps us warm. Too much of it however leads to serious health problems.
Your body stores excess energy by accumulating weight when you consume more calories than you use. When you’re short on food and your body needs extra energy, white fat does come in handy.
Brown fat, the good fat, acts like a furnace, consuming calories and generating heat. It burns excess energy to generate heat. It is mostly found in newborns, arranged in little pockets around the shoulders and between the shoulder blades. It is 5% of an infant’s total body mass. Brown fat provides extra heat to help babies maintain their core temperatures. As you age, you have less brown fat. Some people however keep brown fat deposits into adulthood.
Brown fat is activated by temperature changes in the environment. When the baby is cold, brown fat quickly starts producing heat. The heat is generated by little energy factories, called mitochondria, turning glucose fat and other nutrients into energy that the cell can use.
Brown fat cells are packed with mitochondria, making them very opaque. They are more dense than mitochondria and almost all other tissues in the body. The inefficiency of these mitochondria make them valuable. Instead of breaking down nutrients into energy that the brown fat cell can use, if it leaks out most of the energy into the form of heat.
Small Capillaries around the cells give the fat its brown color. and transport the heat energy throughout the baby’s body, maintaining the baby’s core temperature.
Most of our weight reduction programs have been targeted towards reducing food intake. Scientists are now looking for ways to increase the stores of your brown fat and turn on its metabolism to help you burn calories faster. If you activate the good brown fat, it will help burn off the bad fat.
It wouldn’t take much as a little bit goes a very long way. Since 3 ounces of brown fat stimulated can burn up to 500 calories a day. All of us have small amounts of brown fat around our collarbones and in our necks, as seen under pet scans and CT scans with the brown spots showing up as hot spots Women have twice as much as men, but they only have a half an ounce of brown fat. Brown fat disappears as we age, and obese people have less than lean people. It is activated by just spending a little time in a cold room. Exposure to chilly temperatures causes a 15 times increase in the metabolic rate of brown fat in a healthy adult. If this could be activated it would burn up at least 9 pounds of white fat each year.
Researchers are trying to activate brown fat with a drug targeted along the brown fast metabolic pathways. It may also be possible to remove a small amount of a person’s brown fat, amplify it in a test tube, and transplant it back, thus creating your own internal calorie burning furnace.
Perhaps just spending more time outdoors in cool climates could help. If you set the temp in your home at 60°F versus the comfortable 72 or 80, you might lose weight and help you stay healthy . However, on the contrary, it might just make you eat more. A drug might be necessary to increase the metabolic rate also.
We could tackle obesity, If we could limit the number of adipocytes in children, or reduce the substitution of dead that cells with new ones. If we could prevent the death of brown cells as we age, or somehow reintroduce these cells, we could also prevent obesity.