Brown Fat – a New Treatment for Obesity?

Until about four years ago, scientists thought brown fat existed only in infants.Infants cannot shiver, so they use brown fat as a means to keep warm.

Several new studies have shown the existence of brown fat in human adults for the first time – present in the neck, the upper back and elsewhere.

We now have proof that this brown fat actually burns calories at a significant rate – like a furnace.

Brown fat is turned on when people get cold and during exercise.

Scientists are now exploring ways to turn on brown fat without exposing people to cold temperatures or prolonged exercise.

A group of researchers are presently looking at a number of hormones, and other compounds, to determine which are most effective and potent at activating brown fat.Hopefully, they won’t take long.

Commonly Held Weight Loss Beliefs: Let’s Explore the Presumptions.

This week’s BLOG deals with some commonly held weight loss beliefs recently discussed in a NEJM article which are actually unproven PRESUMPTIONS – i.e., widely accepted beliefs that have not been proven true or false in the medical literature.

Among these PRESUMPTIONS are the following:

  • Regularly eating breakfast, rather than skipping it, protects against obesity.

Based on two randomized, controlled studies, skipping breakfast did not lead to overeating later in the day, or obesity.

  •  Early childhood is the period in which we develop exercise and eating habits that influence our weight throughout life.

Although a person’s BMI typically tracks over time, no studies provide convincing evidence for, or against, this PRESUMPTION.

  •  Eating more fruits and vegetables will result in weight loss or less weight gain, regardless of whether one makes any other changes in diet or behavior.

It is a FACT, however, that consumption of more fruits and vegetables has many other health benefits.

  • Yo-yo dieting – i.e., weight cycling – leads to increased mortality.

However, medical research has shown that each time someone regains lost weight it becomes more difficult to lose.It was probably not even necessary to do these studies – just ask any yo-yo dieter.

  •  Snacking contributes to weight gain and obesity.

Randomized, controlled studies do not support this PRESUMPTION.The key factor in snacking is which food groups are consumed during the snack – veggies and fruits are OK.

There is no scientific evidence to prove,or disprove,any of the above beliefs.

We now conclude our exploration of commonly held weight loss beliefs.