Scientists Learn to Trigger Fat-Burning Fat So-called 'brown fat' could help in fight against obesity By Nick McMaster, Newser Staff Posted May 11, 2010 6:22 PM CDT 16 comments Comments Brown fat. (Wikimedia Commons) (Newser) – Scientists are a step closer to being able to help people slim down with the help of the body's own fat, reports Time. German researchers were able to use an enzyme known as COX-2 in order to make white fat—the majority of human fat cells—act more like brown fat, a calorie-burning version only recently found to be present in adults. Mice that had their white fat induced into performing like brown fat lost 20% of their body weight. Brown fat naturally occurs in human infants and other mammals, where it acts as a defense against cold temperatures—the fat can be triggered to burn itself, releasing heat energy. "There has been a lot of excitement around brown fat, but there wasn't any clear indication that turning up brown fat would make animals lose weight," said a Harvard researcher. "What this paper does is make a good link to something that might be clinically beneficial." It's only a first step, though, so don't go looking for your COX-2 pills just yet.