Metabolism

Forget the stair master, brown fat is where the burn is at

There has been a flurry of articles recently about the rise in research on brown adipose tissue (BAT), endogenous body fat that contains higher levels of mitochondria and is used to help keep the body warm. Until only three years ago, this holy grail of body tissues ("good" fat that burns significantly more calories and can help rid the body of "bad" fat) was thought to exist only in rodents, where it was more commonly seen in the young and in thinner animals. However, BAT has also been seen in human infants, important in helping to keep newborns warm as they can not shiver to create their own body heat. BAT was thought to gradually disappear as individuals aged, but it is now believed that adults can retain small levels of their brown fat from childhood, with thinner individuals maintaining more, and that exercise can aid in this retention.