We all know there is bad cholesterol and good cholesterol, did you know there is bad fat and good fat ? The “goodness” of fat is colour coded. White is bad, brown is good.
The difference is not cosmetic – white fat cells, WATs for short, act as storage cupboards, hoarding all those extra calories. Brown fat cells, BATs for short, do exactly the opposite, they burn the calories. The primary reason your body sets fire to things is to create a little heat i.e. thermogenesis.
Lighting up the BATs
We all have both WATs and BATs – some of us have too many WATs and not enough BATs, which leaves us looking a little like the Mitchellin man.
Setting the BATs alight, should help get to grips with all the extra layers of fat hanging on your hips. The million dollar question remains, what does it take to switch these babies on and turn into a remarkable fat burning machine.
Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Centre decided to take a look at this fiery question.
The cold shoulder brings on a fat melt
The team looked for evidence of fat burning by scanning 10 volunteers with PET/CT scan which pick up changes in metabolism. Initially, the scan was performed without any treatment, to get an idea of just how much “fat” burning was happening normally.
The team then strapped the participants into cooling vests, contraptions that kept the skin chilled, as cool water (57 F/13 °C) drifted passed. Two hours of this cold shoulder treatment, caused a fireball jackpot inside. The PET/CT scan lit up like a Christmas tree, as the brown fat cells fired on all cylinders, as they attempted to keep the body warm.
This research confirmed turning into an icicle, is a cool way to burn some of those extra calories you’ve got stored up.
Ephedrine pills miss the mark
The team then checked out the fat burning capacity of a classic “fat burner”, ephedrine. The participants were dosed with an injection of the drug, which is officially sold as a decongestant and bronchodilator, but moonlights as a popular, some-what illegal, weight loss drug.
Ephedrine fails to hit the fat burning jackpot – the team found no evidence of any brown fat cell activation. Ephedrine’s fat burning prowess, it does have some, is linked to its ability to simulate a panic attack and induce a cold sweat through triggering the flight-and-fight side of the nervous system. It doesn’t directly burn fat, but the constant fear and trepidation keeps the appetite in check and the body wiggling.
Cold is a key to fat loss
The evidence is clear – cold sweats and cold baths both burn calories. Both cold sweats and cold baths can leave you feeling a bit out in the cold.
But the Joslin team gave the cold bath the thumbs up. So if you’re up to it – a cold shower is a cool way to swing the weight equation your way.
NOTE : If you decided to experiment with thermogenesis make sure you don’t monkey around with your respiratory health – fumigate your lungs with a little vitamin D bug spray
Despite the concerted effort, the scale beams at you, you’re just as fat this week, as last week. What is wrong with YOU ? Maybe you’re BAT deficient.
The extra weight gained during winter is attributed to us eating lots and moving little, as we huddle inside but lack of huddling may be the actual problem.
Mice who receive a FAT transplant become OBESITY RESISTANT – this means, the little critters can eat what they like and never get fat. I want that….