Maybe you want to lose weight, reduce symptoms of diabetes or you are tired of always having to wear that extra piece of clothing because you are very sensitive to cold – no matter your motivation, it is a good idea for you to turn your white fat into brown fat.
Are there different colors to fat?
Indeed, there are. Brown fat is the fat babies are born with. Its function is to heat the body. It is like a large furnace that burns all the energy it gets hold of.
White fat is the fat people nowadays usually have plenty of and the body uses it for storing energy. It functions as an insulation belt around our bodies, storing reservoirs of potential energy.
The line between white and brown fat can be crossed: it is possible to turn your white fat into brown. The process, however, goes both ways – you can turn your white fat into brown relatively quickly, but if you stop doing your routine, brown will become white again.
Who has more of it: men or women?
Some time ago, it was believed that only babies had brown fat, which helped them stay warm.
As late as in 2015 was found that adults too had brown fat: it is located in the area from the front of the neck to the chest.
Surprisingly enough, women have more brown fat than men do: it is most abundant in young women and least in older overweight men.
How to turn white fat into brown?
1. Cold Exposure
Cold exposure is one of the most effective ways of getting more brown fat. It works best when performed in winter: following natural rhythms is always a good idea.
Research shows that people who were exposed to lower temperatures (not extreme cold) regularly, developed more brown tissue. Men who sat for 2 hours in a room where there were 63 degrees, burned 100 more calories than usual just because of the cold. After 6 weeks, they burned 290 calories in the same conditions.
What happened? The body turned white tissue into brown because it felt that more brown fat was needed: the body needed to create heat.
How can you apply this knowledge?
In winter months, turn your room temperature down – you can do it for a limited time each day.
In the summer, shower with cold water for 2 minutes at least three times per week. You can also swim in cold water.
You do not have to go to extremes like bathing in icy water or wearing your shorts in winter. Start with small steps and see where they take you.
You can try cryotherapy or cold therapy where you expose your body to extremely low temperatures. During the session, your body will use as much as 800 calories, your waist will shrink after one session only and your metabolism will become faster.
2. Do not Count Your Calories
Weight loss diets as we know them at present almost all restrict the calories you are allowed to eat.
If this method actually worked, we would probably all be our ideal weight now. However, people restrict their calories as much as they can, but the results are still very poor.
The metabolism is not a math lesson. The body has its own way of maintaining its weight, and the first line of weight management is body temperature.
If you eat more than you can use, the body will create a lot of heat. Because it uses brown tissue to burn heat, your brown tissue will grow if you eat more.
On the other hand, if you eat less than your body needs, your body will turn down the temperature and you will become very cold-sensitive. People who have been doing calorie-restrictive diets all their lives are usually always cold.
I am not suggesting that you should overeat all the time, but it is a good idea to stop following any calorie-restricting diets because they are doing you more harm than good.
3. Consume the Right Foods
Research shows that some foods have the ability to turn white fat into brown tissue.
So what should you eat more of?
- Hot pepper (red chilly) will flatten your tummy, burn the existing fat and convert some of the white tissue into brown
- Resveratrol (found in white hellebore, mulberries, red wine, grapes, and peanuts). Research suggest that resveratrol plays a crucial role in brown tissue formation and activation.
- Curcumin (found in turmeric, mustard, and curry) changes white fat into brown fat and increases energy expenditure
- Green tea – we all know it is very healthy, but did you know it induces weight-loss and thermogenesis?
- Menthol – studies show that long-term consumption of menthol makes your brown fat more active, increases energy expenditure, improves insulin sensitivity and prevents weight gain.
- Fish-Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acids – you have probably heard that taking a teaspoon of fish oil will have many health benefits for your body, including the melting of fat. Research suggests that this is also due to the ability of fish oil to convert white tissue into brown.
White fat is converted into brown with the help of a protein called irisin.
People who perform sedentary work have low levels of this protein compared to people who are very active.
To increase your levels of irisin, you should engage in some high-intensity exercise (HIIT).
Studies show that 6 bouts of 1-minute HIIT training separated by 1-minute pauses will significantly increase irisin levels, while 40 minutes of aerobic activity (the study examined cycling) did not increase irisin levels at all.
So if you are considering to include regular exercise in your everyday routine, you should definitely go for HIIT.
5. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is believed to share many of its health benefits with prolonged fasting. It has, for instance, been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
Other studies have shown that intermittent fasting increases insulin sensitivity and protects nerve cells from certain types of damage. It may also slow aging and reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
What about fat browning?
Repeated 24-hour fasts will trigger the browning of white fat tissue – this means that you should perform a 24-hour fast once per week to get good results.
If you perform the one-day fast as a one-off experience, there will be no effect on your brown tissue.
The good news is that fasting does not involve a calorie-deficit: even though you fast for one day, you can compensate for it during the next few days and eat more.
The ketogenic diet has been very popular in the last few years – and rightly so.
It is a great way to reduce inflammation in the body and lose weight fast.
However, even if you are not on the ketogenic diet for weight loss reasons, studies show that the amount of brown fat increases if you follow the ketogenic lifestyle.
This means that your body will become more effective at burning fat and even if you eat the same amount of calories on a ketogenic diet compared to a “normal” diet, you are less likely to become overweight on the ketogenic diet.
In this post I have presented several ways to convert your white fat into energy-burning brown fat.
You can choose from a variety of methods: from getting your dose of cold temperatures regularly, to exercising, introducing certain foods to your diet or changing your diet entirely.
Whichever you pick, you will find that it is an investment into your well-being worth making.