Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brown Fat

Turn down the heat to fire up your metabolism. Cooler temperatures force the body to warm itself, increasing calorie burn. Research suggests that turning your thermostat way down and spending more time in a chilly environment can make you burn more calories. When exposed to cold temperatures, the body has to work harder to stay warm. One way it does that is by activating the body’s brown fat reserve. Unlike regular fat, which stores excess calories, brown fat actually helps torch them. Since its purpose is to regulate body temperature and keep us warm, brown fat becomes more active in the cold. It’s like a furnace — tearing through fuel to make sure we stay toasty. An article published in Obesity Reviews speculates that all this time spent in heated environments is causing our brown fat to disappear, and it may even be contributing to the rise in obesity.

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