January 12, 2012

"A newly discovered hormone produced in response to exercise may be turning people’s white fat brown..."

"... Brown fat, as many of us have heard, is physiologically desirable. While white fat cells are essentially inert storehouses for fat, brown fat cells are metabolically active. They use oxygen and require energy. They burn calories."

This study confirms what the experts— and many promoters of the healthy-looking lifestyle — dearly want to believe. I'm skeptical.

30 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Sounds racist to me.

bgates said...

It's not racist, because they're saying the white part is less desirable.

Tibore said...

"This study confirms what the experts— and many promoters of the healthy-looking lifestyle — dearly want to believe. I'm skeptical."

Why?

Moose said...

Go read Gary Taubes - his book "Why we get get fat" goes into what we do with calories and why much of the assumptions about fat are way out of whack with what they like to tell us.

edutcher said...

No clue here, but I'm presuming brown fat is what girls like Lucy Pinder have in high concentration in certain high-visibility areas of their bodies.

t-man said...

But will it turn my brown eyes blue?

(Actually, my eyes are green.)

One of the reasons I have been skeptical of official science on the issue of global warming is that official science on diet has been consistently -- and dangerously -- wrong.

Stephen said...

Science has confirmed what we instinctively know. Would you rather eat brown bacon or white?

whoamellie said...

Why was it published in "Nature" instead of a more highly regarded journal? It makes me moreso questionable of the methods used.

Maguro said...

Mmmm,, bacon.

Robert Roy said...

I wonder if the "metabolically active" brown fat is using that energy to....errr, store fat? I mean forming tryglycerides out of free fatty acids in response to insulin. Perhaps the "brown fat" is the same as white fat just turned on at the moment? I do wonder if it's possible that brown fat varies in both location and amounts continuously.

Issob Morocco said...

Didn't Wavy Gravy warn us in 1969 about the Brown Fat?

Henry said...

While white fat cells are essentially inert storehouses for fat...

Better than inert is a high standard.

toby said...

I read brownies create brown fat, not the blonde brownies, the classic brown ones. And, if you eat a Hostess cupcake and a Twinkie together, they also produce brown fat. Eaten alone, white fat.

Rob Crawford said...

Alright, time to synthesize that hormone!

Matt said...

Why was it published in "Nature" instead of a more highly regarded journal?

What? There aren't any. Nature is the most highly-regarded journal. Science is the only other one that's even close. Publication in one of those two is a huge merit badge for any scientist.

Carnifex said...

@Toby

Twinkies should never be diluted with less desirable sweets. Twinkies or nothing man!!!

(I'm sure some of our less-than- straight friends would agree)

Here's a question for anthropologists: Do black people have more or less, white to brown fat ratio's, than caucasians? Would, or would that not, be an indicator of "evolution" in action?

I was taught (half a century ago) that black people are black because their ancestors stayed in Africa under the equitorial sun. And the corollary, that white people were white because they had to wear clothing to survive the cold of Europe, and it weaker sun.

deborah said...

I recently read an article that said when the body loses weight, it begins to produce a hormone that promotes weigh gain and resists further weight loss...or something.

Robert Roy said...

Deborah, sounds like you're a prime candidate to read a Gary Taubes book.

Scott M said...

Deborah, sounds like you're a prime candidate

If you were listening to Peter F. Hamilton's "Pandora's Star" during your commutes like I am, that sentence takes on a whole different meaning.

EDH said...

"I'm Captain Casey, from headquarters."

"I'm Brown, from The Sun".

The Ghost said...

and by skepital you mean that you don't believe exercise reduces the chance of obesity or diabetes ? or that they found a gene response to exercise ?

redleg said...

Why be skeptical? As long as your caloric intake is less than your caloric expenditure, you will lose weight. If you exercise and do not increase caloric intake, you will lose weight faster. Don't think the research is breaking new ground, no matter what color the racist fat is. The only amazing thing is that someone funds this research.

DADvocate said...

But will it turn my brown eyes blue?

Yes! Popped into my head too.

(Actually, my eyes are hazel.)

Steven said...

Alright, time to synthesize that hormone!

Yep. Should be pretty easy to set up a bacteria to produce it in great quantities. The question is, will we have to inject it, or can they figure out a method to do oral dosing?

Beldar said...

I like the "I'm skeptical" tag. Sorry to see it wasn't used more often before November 2008, but I know you're tired of being teased about that Professor Althouse.

The Crack Emcee said...

"This study confirms what the experts— and many promoters of the healthy-looking lifestyle — dearly want to believe."

Another post with belief in it. Interesting.

I've never seen the healthy-looking people as looking that way - they look like concentration camp victims. The whole movement is cultish.

Reality is stranger than fiction,...

~N. said...

"This study confirms what the experts— and many promoters of the healthy-looking lifestyle — dearly want to believe."

Except that the article acknowledges that none of the studies done so far indicate that this protien addresses weight loss at all.

This isn't about "looking" healthy. It's about being healthy.

You can be as skeptical as you like until the research proves something one way or the other, but to say that those who are interested in this protien are somehow just desperately in it because they're concerned about their looks means you didn't read the article.

Research like this helps us better understand and address seriously debilitating, life-threatening diseases, such as diabetes. Studies such as the ones described in the article are the beginning of discovering new drugs, or helping people who have diseases like diabetes manage their health without drugs.

Why is that a bad thing...? What kind of person would look down on research like this, or diminish it with a snide and unfounded comment about vanity?

Phil 3:14 said...

Will it turn Brown Eyes Blue?

Phil 3:14 said...

PS. OK several thought of that

rhhardin said...

Donuts make your brown eyes blue.