Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Refrigerate the Fat Away!

Older people have less of it than younger people, and older men have less of it than younger women. This mysterious and recently-dicovered-in-humans element? Fat; not just any fat, mind you: brown fat! (Yes, it is actually brown in color).
Prior to recent studies, it was assumed that only rats and babies had quantities of brown fat. What do the two have in common that would necessitate the need for brown fat? Neither can shiver...the adult human's way of burning calories to protect it from the cold. Now, three studies have shown that adult humans do, indeed, have deposits of brown fat, and these deposits actually burn the white fat (that stuff that jiggles around your waist!). Really.
Dr. Andre Carpentier an endocrinologist in Quebec was the lead author in one of the studies, and he was able to detect brown fat in adults in their upper back, on the side of the neck, along the spine, and in that dip between the collarbone and the shoulder. he notes, "We have proof that this tissue burns calories."
Actually, there are two "types" of brown fat, and each burns calories. Type one is located in deposits along the body and sucks glucose from the other cells as the body gets cold (but not shivering). This type was discovered as a result of Carpentier's research: the subjects of his experiment (all males) were chilled to just before shivering temperature, and simply sitting, their metabolism rose 80% as the brown fat cells burned calories from the other white fat cells. In the space of three hours, the subjects burned 250 calories.
Now, if you don't like the cold and three hours is too long to wait, you could try the other "type" of brown fat: the type that is created from white fat cells through...exercise. It takes me roughly 20 minutes on an elliptical trainer to burn 250 calories, but it's a lot of work and sweat. sitting in a wine cellar for three hours just might be a better idea!
Of course, living in Wisconsin has the residual benefit of being close to shivering a LOT!
Obviously, the pharmaceuticals have yet to find a way to increase output in these brown fat cells, but you can rest assured that they are working feverishly on it as dollar signs light up their eyes.
Working feverishly at anything is bound to burn calories! Win/Win!


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