It’s true; there is such a thing as better fat. When you think of fat in your body, you’re probably thinking of the excess flab stored around the gut, hips, butt, etc. That’s mostly white fat, although it’s actually more yellowish in color. White fat isn’t the only kind produced by your body, though, and new studies are showing that you can actually change the fat in your body into a healthier form: brown fat.
Brown fat, which gets its color from higher iron content, is generally spread throughout the body rather than stored primarily in one place. Rather than serve as a kind of savings account for energy, brown fat is the checking account. It’s ready for immediate action, such as keeping us warm.
Brown fat is more metabolically active than white fat, which just kind of sits there most of the time. This means having more brown fat results in more calories burned just sitting around than you would otherwise.
The understanding of brown fat that we currently have is a recent development. For a long time, scientific opinion held that brown fat was important only for keeping us warm. A study by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center and presented at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association found that exercise could cause white fat to become brown.
You can change your fat! That’s a statement with the potential for a lot of benefits down the line, such as more successful ways of losing weight and more beneficial workouts.
By following the type and amount of fat in men undergoing 12 weeks of intense exercise (cardio training in this study), researchers saw that exercise led to the occurrence of more brown fat.
According to senior researcher, Kristen Stanford, PhD, “ We know that exercise is good for us. But what we’re showing here is that fat changes dramatically in response to exercise training and is having good metabolic effects.
This is not the fat that’s around your middle, which is bad fat and can lead to diabetes and other insulin-resistant conditions. It’s the fat that’s under the skin, the subcutaneous fat that adapts in a way that appears to be having important metabolic effects.”
White fat is created because we have taken in more energy than we need to use. A late-night snack with plenty of sugar is not something you need to get a good night’s rest (far from it, in fact). The extra sugar is eventually stored as an energy reserve for later.
Of course, we rarely need to use these reserves, especially with a more sedentary way of living. White fat tends to pile up, resulting in heart disease, obesity, lowered Insulin Efficiency and many other adverse health effects.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the latest studies on brown fat is that it can affect our health and our health affects our levels of brown fat. This can be mutually beneficial or not depending on how active you are. Basically, you need to be active.
More exercise is important, and understanding the best exercises, progression, intensity and so forth is an equally important part of your health.
Olumia Life guides you through workout routines tailor-made to your specific needs, allowing the Olumia Life app to have all the answers you need at the gym and beyond.
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