What’s the Difference Between Brown Fat and White Fat?

Did you know that there’s different types of fat in your body? And that they impact your health in totally different ways? Let’s explore!

But first, I want to invite you to attend my free online class Natural Solutions to Calming Inflammation, Tues, Feb 1st at 12:30pm PST, co-hosted with Precision Physical Therapy
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Brown Fat and White Fat Differentiated

Brown fat is also known as brown adipose tissue or BAT while white fat is otherwise called white adipose tissue or WAT.

Aside from the color, they also have different functions in your body:

  • BAT dissipates energy while WAT stores energy. 

The extra calories from the food you eat are stored as white fat. Meaning, this is the fat we are most familiar with and probably think of as the only kind of fat in the body. Brown fat, on the other hand, is designed to produce heat and regulate your body temperature. So in cold weather, it is brown fat that most helps keep you warm. This heat-generating mechanism is called thermogenesis.

Just a little review about the anatomy of human cells: Each cell contains mitochondria which are the powerhouses or “the energy factories” of the cell because they produce the energy-carrying molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Meaning, mitochondria are the ones responsible for extracting energy from your food, so you can use it and live.

WAT contains only a few mitochondria, but BAT has plenty of these power plants. Aside from that, BAT has plenty of blood supply and gets activated by the nervous system.

Since BAT is loaded with mitochondria, it is truly capable of burning carbs and fats (even the stored ones) to produce heat.

So if your goal is to lose weight by burning fat, boost your metabolism, and improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity, then brown fat will help!

But how do you activate brown fat?

Since BAT is there to produce heat so that you can maintain the ideal temperature, then would cold exposure increase thermogenesis?

Yes! Cold exposure can activate BAT. In fact, according to recent studies, exposure to low temperature within the range of 10-17°C (50-62°F) for 2-6 hours every day for 10 days to 4 weeks can actually increase the activity of brown fat up to 45-65%! Consequently, when there is an increase in brown fat activity, there is also a remarkable decrease in WAT.

Now it’s also useful to know that brown fat activity varies from one person to another (just like everything else!). Leaner, healthier folks tend to have more active brown fat compared to the older, obese, and/or type 2 diabetic populations. However, it is possible to change your fat type composition.

 Here are a few strategies on how to increase BAT by “browning” the white fat.

  • Healthy circadian rhythm – This is your body’s masterclock, and a healthy one is when your bedtimes and wake times are stable–following a regular schedule. The sleep-related hormone, melatonin, is thought to regulate BAT metabolism.
  • Exercise – When you exercise, the hormone known as Irisin is activated and helps in browning the white fat.
  • Grains of Paradise – This is a plant that is in the ginger family and closely related to cardamom; it activates BAT and decreases fat belly.
  • Capsaicin – Capsaicin is the ingredient that makes all types of pepper hot. It activates BAT, boosts metabolism, and aids in body fat reduction.
  • Resveratrol – Sources are grape skins, peanuts, cocoa, and Vaccinium berries such as blueberries, bilberries, and cranberries.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

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