- Brown fat produces heat in the body by burning calories.
- Most people’s fats are white fats, which stores excess calories.
- According to a new study, drinking coffee activates brown fat.
A new study has revealed that coffee could help burn calories. According to the University of Nottingham researchers, drinking coffee can stimulate the body’s natural fat-fighting defenses, which could prevent obesity and diabetes.
The study, which appeared this week in the Scientific Reports journal, is the first study in humans to discover components that directly impact “brown fat” functions, which is essential in how quickly we burn calories for energy.
What is brown fat?
Brown fat, or brown adipose tissue (BAT), is a type of fat found in humans and other mammals that produce body heat by burning calories. White fat, on the other hand, comes from storing excess calories. People with a lower body mass index (BMI) have higher levels of brown fat.
According to Professor Michael Symonds, from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, who co-directed the study, “Brown fat works in a different way to other fat in your body and produces heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold.”
He explains that increasing brown fat activity in the body improves blood sugar levels and blood lipid, and the calories burned can promote weight loss.
How is brown fat activated?
The study by the University of Nottingham researchers is the first to find an acceptable way to stimulate brown activity in humans.
“This is the first study in humans to show that something like a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions. The potential implications of our results are pretty big, as obesity is a major health concern for society and we also have a growing diabetes epidemic and brown fat could potentially be part of the solution in tackling them,” Symonds explains.
The researchers began with a series of stem cell studies to determine whether caffeine would stimulate brown fat. After selecting the right dose, they did the study on humans to see if they get similar results.
The researchers used thermal imaging technology to locate the body’s brown fat and assess its ability to produce heat.
Information from the researchers’ previous work reveals that brown fat is mainly located in the neck region, so they were able to image someone straight after having a drink to see how it affects the brown fat, explains Professor Symonds.
The results revealed that coffee activated the brown fat. The researchers are now trying to determine if caffeine acts as a stimulus for brown fat or if another component is involved.
Symonds says if they confirm which component is responsible for brown activation, results from the study could be used for weight management and glucose regulation.