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Brown fat labeled as healthy helps prevent diabetes

Lana Bandoim's picture
Brown fat and diabetes

It may seem counterintuitive, but brown fat has been found to help prevent diabetes and obesity. A study published in the journal Diabetes compares brown fat and white fat to reveal interesting differences between the tissues. If a person has a greater amount of brown fat than white fat, then insulin regulation is easier.

Understanding the differences between brown fat and white fat

Brown fat is seen in greater amounts in babies and decreases as people age. This type of fat is linked to body temperature regulation, but the new study has found other benefits. White fat is more common in the human body and is generally used for energy storage. Although the levels of brown fat go down with time, some people are able to maintain higher amounts. Scientists hope to discover why these variations exist in the future.

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Benefits of healthy brown fat

During the study, researchers compared how the body reacted to different temperatures and discovered that people with more brown fat are able to burn more calories. In addition, having higher levels of brown fat was linked to better insulin regulation. Researchers have come to the conclusion that brown fat plays an important role in helping to prevent diabetes and obesity. It may become a powerful tool in the fight to lose weight as more information is uncovered.

Despite the positive results, researchers caution that it will take time and more studies before the information can be used to help people. Currently, there are no reliable ways to increase the amount of brown fat in a person. Some scientists have suggested it may be possible to maintain the brown fat from childhood, but this type of therapy has not been created. Researchers will have to develop and test treatments that use these results while meeting strict guidelines.

Image: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons.