Why is Brown Fat the Most Dangerous?

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Your body contains two kinds of fat. Each serves one or more important purposes. However, too much of a good thing can be a problem. Scientists recently discovered surprising evidence that more brown fat in the body could increase a person’s risk of getting a stroke or a heart attack during the winter months.

Fat, or adipose tissue, is used by the body to store excess energy (calories). Brown fat is particularly important to newborns, who cannot shiver to keep themselves warm. Like muscle tissue, brown fat cells can release energy/heat. White fat cells, on the other hand, also manufacture or regulate hormones that influence appetite and blood sugar regulation. Brown fat can actually stimulate your body to burn white fat. There's a third type of fat (primarily white fat) located in your abdominal cavity and around your internal organs. Called visceral fat, it provides padding as well as energy storage.

None of these fats is harmful in and of themselves, and they interact with each other and the regulatory mechanisms of your body. Brown fat contains more capillaries (tiny blood vessels) than white fat, because it uses more oxygen — which is how it can release energy to keep you warm (think of how a draft of air increases the flames in a fire). White fat also helps maintain body temperature, but it acts as insulation rather than a source of heat.

So in answer to the question posed by the title, none of these types of fat are dangerous. Too much body fat, however, has definite health risks. Increased body fat — especially visceral fat, which can be hard to lose — increases the risks of diabetes and heart disease. At Metabolic Research Center, we can help you lose weight by eating real food; no fad diets or counting calories. Our counselors will help support you in your quest to get healthy.


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