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What Is The Purpose of Brown Fat?

Find out brown fat’s role in keeping you trim, including 3 simple steps to make more of it.

How Can Having Fat Keep You Trim Pin on Pinterest

Ever wonder why that really fit person, who doesn’t seem to have an ounce of fat on his/her body doesn’t seem to feel the cold as much as they should? After all, fat is supposed to keep us warm, right? Well, it turns out that people who exercise regularly and are trim actually do have more of a certain type of fat on their bodies than overweight and obese people. And this fat not only generates heat but burns calories, too. Want to guess what kind of calories they burn? Fat calories – isn’t that wonderful?

2 Types of Fat

  1. White Fat – the one we all know and hate.
  2. Brown Fat

Up until recently, it was believed that only babies and rodents had brown fat in their bodies. However, research studies have revealed that brown fat does actually exist in adult humans and some people have more of it than others – thin people have more than overweight people, and young more than old.

What Triggers Brown Fat to Burn Calories?

What’s really interesting is that brown fat is triggered to burn calories by two things:

  1. Exposure to cold temperatures
  2. Exercise

Exercise Triggers Brown Fat

Moreover, exercise has been shown to trigger the release of the hormone irisin, which stimulates your body to convert white fat cells into new brown fat deposits. So it makes sense that fit people would have less white fat and more brown fat because their exercise stimulates new brown fat formation and their extra brown fat contributes to their calorie burning capacity.

But, why is it that brown fat almost never shows up in obese people? Is the lack of brown fat one cause of their obesity, or is it that their extra white body fat keeps them so warm that their brown fat never gets activated.

Alas, there is no clear answer to that question as yet, though many scientists believe that sedentary lifestyles and cozy, warm indoor environments do not promote the creation of nor do they activate brown fat.

All in all though, this is good news for everyone, fit or fat. Brown fat helps burn off excess white body fat and brown fat can be created through exercise and exposure to cold temperatures.

3 Simple Steps to Make Brown Fat

It’s simple: exercise and shivering cause your muscles to secrete irisin which converts white fat cells to brown. Brown fat burns white fat to create heat when your body is cool.

Stay Cool Brown Fat

So take these 3 steps to help your body burn fat more efficiently and more often:

  1. Exercise Regularly – 3 to 5 sessions of vigorous exercise per week.
  2. Stay Cool – keep thermostats set lower in winter, take cool showers, and exercise in cooler temperatures.
  3. Make sure your diet has adequate levels of protein and essential fatty acids to help your body produce all the hormones it needs, including irisin.


All of the steps listed to create and activate brown fat are safe, and good for you, whether they create and activate brown fat or not. So why not give it a try. The worst that could happen is that you just get healthier., “Irisin: The “Exercise Hormone” Is a Fat-Fighting Phenomenon,” Retrieved September 18, 2018., “Brown Fat: What You Should Know,” Retrieved September 18, 2018., Adaptation to exercise in the cold, Shepard RJ, Sports Med 1985 Jan-Feb;2(1):59-71, National Library of Medicine, 2014., Science Daily, 2014., Melaina Juntti, Men’s Journal, LLC, 2014., Gina Kolata,, 2012.

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