White fat and brown fat are two types of adipose tissue found in the body. White fat is the more commonly known type of body fat and is used to store energy for later use. Excess amounts of white fat can lead to metabolic and hormonal imbalances, which are associated with a higher risk of diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, brown fat is a metabolically active type of fat that is found in smaller amounts, primarily in infants and hibernating animals.
Brown fat generates heat by burning sugar and fatty acids, thus helping to maintain a safe body temperature. It has also been found to improve metabolism, blood sugar regulation, and cellular energy production.
Research suggests that cold exposure and exercise can help activate brown fat. Cold exposure increases the production of heat and can lead to an increase in brown fat stores, while exercise enlists brown fat to help burn glucose and fat. Furthermore, long-term cold exposure and exercise can lead to "beiging" of white fat, where white fat takes on some properties of brown fat.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese. These numbers have been steadily increasing over the past few decades, with obesity being a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Understanding the differences between white and brown fat and how they function in the body can help individuals make lifestyle choices that promote better health and wellbeing.
To activate brown fat and reduce white fat changes such as cold exposure, exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and stress management. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your lifestyle.