Brown fat is good fat which helps in keeping the body warm and energised. On the other hand, white and yellow fat is the result of an excessive storage of calories: Medical experts associate white fat with problems like obesity and diabetes, whereas brown fat helps in maintaining the lean weight of the body.
is drinking coffee when you’re tired supposed to wake you up or make you feel like you’re dying
— scottysire (@ImNotScottySire) July 9, 2019
Researchers have suggested that if the body can be prompted into turning white fat into brown fat, it can fight obesity. Studies have also supported this hypothesis, as there are several pathways which can facilitate this process.
How it works
Brown fat activates uncoupling protein UCP1 which helps in converting food into energy. Previous studies have confirmed that consumption of coffee is linked to weight loss and an increase in energy consumption. Researchers are now working towards finding the link between coffee and UCP1 activation.
Professor Michael Symonds of the University of Nottingham has worked with a team of researchers to find out this link. They conducted in vitro and in vivo experiments to see what the effect of coffee is on brown fat generating cells.
— 9GAG (@9GAG) July 9, 2019
They found that increased levels of caffeine raised the levels of UCP1 in the body and also boosted the metabolism of the cells. They also saw “browning like structural changes” in mitochondrial and lipid cells.
The in vivo results
They also found using imaging techniques that drinking coffee stimulated the temperature in supraclavicular region in humans – the area where most of our brown fat is stored.
“The results were positive,” Prof. Symonds reports,
“and we now need to ascertain [whether] caffeine, as one of the ingredients in the coffee, is acting as the stimulus or if there’s another component helping with the activation of brown fat. We are currently looking at caffeine supplements to test whether the effect is similar.”
“Once we have confirmed which component is responsible for this, it could potentially be used as part of a weight management regime or as part of [a] glucose regulation program to help prevent diabetes.”
“Increasing [brown fat] activity improves blood sugar control as well as improving blood lipid levels, and the extra calories burnt help with weight loss. However, until now, no one has found an acceptable way to stimulate its activity in humans,” says Prof. Symonds.