The Fat Breakdown: White vs. Brown

It’s obvious that the more fat that’s accumulated in the body, the fatter the body appears. “Fat cells are like balloons: they expand when they contain fat and they shrink when they lose fat,” says Fort Lauderdale, FL, plastic surgeon Zoran Potparic, MD. Besides giving way to an unhealthy look, fat can cause health complications like excessive weight gain, heart disease and excess insulin secretion. Unlike proteins and simple carbohydrates, saturated fat is burned up slowly. It also builds up in the body, increasing body fat overall. 

There are two types of fat found in the body: brown fat and white fat. Both types of fat are now believed to be present in adults and each serves a different purpose. Brown fat is known as “good” fat whereas white fat is associated with being “bad.” 

“White fat is used for long-term storage of energy but it’s not efficient at producing energy,” says Beverly Hills and Rancho Mirage, CA, plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon, MD. “Unlike white fat, brown fat is loaded with mitochondria, which are the tiny energy engines within all of our cells,” says Dr. Ordon. Naturally, we have more white fat than brown fat.

If you have baby fat, it may benefit your health. Adults with baby fat, or brown fat, may be able to protect themselves against obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have found that adults have decent amounts of brown fat and slimmer adults had even more brown fat than those who are overweight. If brown fat is stimulated, it may be able to control weight and improve the metabolism of glucose, in turn possibly preventing obesity and diabetes.

Diet and exercise should be your first step in fighting fat, but if they aren’t producing significant results, talk to your board-certified plastic surgeon about surgical options. 

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  • anne

    How do we stimulate brown fat?

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