What color is your fat?
Losing weight isn’t easy as evidenced by the obesity epidemic in this country. Appetite suppressants, fad diets, supplements or gastric band surgery are regularly reported in the news media to achieve results. However, if that were the answer, there wouldn’t be a new fad seemingly appearing every other month as an answer to this problem.
Scientists state that adipose tissue (fat) comes in at least three colors, white, beige and brown. White adipose tissue (WAT) is lazy and stores energy. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is involved in thermoregulation which creates heat and uses energy. Beige or (Brite) is a hybrid of both. What gives BAT its brown color is the mitochondria. It’s the mitochondria in the cells of the BAT that enables it to burn fuel for energy; by some estimates up to five times more calories than WAT. BAT also has more capillaries than WAT because of its higher oxygen consumption. Babies, as well as animals that hibernate have a larger percentage of BAT. For babies, about 5% of their body weight is made up of BAT, and adults are less than that. Evidently even in small amounts, BAT serves as a protective mechanism against hypothermia, which is why babies don’t shiver even after taking them out of a bath or why we sometimes hear miraculous stories of a baby surviving severe cold exposure. It was assumed that all brown fat disappears during childhood, but new findings revealed otherwise.
The caloric vs. the endocrine debate