Body's Own 'Brown Fat' May Help Shed Weight

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 7:16 PM CDT
Body's Own 'Brown Fat' May Help Shed Weight
Get ready for a new phrase in the diet wars: Brown fat.   (Shutter Stock)

Scientists have found a potential new tool to help people lose weight—an unusual form of fat found inside the body. A new batch of studies shows that adults have stores of so-called brown fat, which actually burns calories and generates heat, the New York Times reports. Scientists have long known that babies—and rodents—have brown fat, which kicks in during cold weather to keep them warm. But until now, they thought it was lost after infancy.

Any practical applications are probably years away, but scientists hope to figure out how to consistently activate the brown fat in adults. Researchers found it in an unusual spot in adults—the upper back, the Times notes. They detected it by exposing people to cold. “The thing about this brown fat is that it takes a very small amount to burn a lot of energy,” said one of the lead researchers. (More fat stories.)

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