Being given the cold shoulder causes a fat meltdown

cold thermogenesisWe all know there is bad cholesterol and good cholesterol, did you know there is bad fat and good fat ? The “goodness” of fat is colour coded. White is bad, brown is good.

 The difference is not cosmetic – white fat cells, WATs for short, act as storage cupboards, hoarding all those extra calories. Brown fat cells, BATs for short, do exactly the opposite, they burn the calories. The primary reason your body sets fire to things is to create a little heat i.e. thermogenesis.

 Lighting up the BATs

 We all have both WATs and BATs – some of us have too many WATs and not enough BATs, which leaves us looking a little like the Mitchellin man.

Setting the BATs alight, should help get to grips with all the extra layers of fat hanging on your hips. The million dollar question remains, what does it take to switch these babies on and turn into a remarkable fat burning machine.

Researchers from Joslin Diabetes Centre decided to take a look at this fiery question.

The cold shoulder brings on a fat melt

The team looked for evidence of fat burning by scanning 10 volunteers with PET/CT scan which pick up changes in metabolism. Initially, the scan was performed without any treatment, to get an idea of just how much “fat” burning was happening normally.

The team then strapped the participants into cooling vests, contraptions that kept the skin chilled, as cool water (57 F/13 °C) drifted passed. Two hours of this cold shoulder treatment, caused a fireball jackpot inside. The PET/CT scan lit up like a Christmas tree, as the brown fat cells fired on all cylinders, as they attempted to keep the body warm.

This research confirmed turning into an icicle, is a cool way to burn some of those extra calories you’ve got stored up.

Ephedrine pills miss the mark

The team then checked out the fat burning capacity of a classic “fat burner”, ephedrine. The participants were dosed with an injection of the drug, which is officially sold as a decongestant and bronchodilator, but moonlights as a popular, some-what illegal, weight loss drug.

Ephedrine fails to hit the fat burning jackpot – the team found no evidence of any brown fat cell activation. Ephedrine’s fat burning prowess, it does have some, is linked to its ability to simulate a panic attack and induce a cold sweat through triggering the flight-and-fight side of the nervous system. It doesn’t directly burn fat, but the constant fear and trepidation keeps the appetite in check and the body wiggling.

Cold is a key to fat loss

The evidence is clear – cold sweats and cold baths both burn calories. Both cold sweats and cold baths can leave you feeling a bit out in the cold.

But the Joslin team gave the cold bath the thumbs up. So if you’re up to it – a cold shower is a cool way to swing the weight equation your way.

NOTE : If you decided to experiment with thermogenesis make sure you don’t monkey around with your respiratory health fumigate your lungs with a little vitamin D bug spray

Cold but not sympathomimetics activates human brown adipose tissue in vivo. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( 2012 ) 109(25):10001-10005.  Aaron M. Cypess, Yih-Chieh Chen, Cathy Sze, Ke Wang, Jeffrey English, Onyee Chan, Ashley R. Holman, Ilan Tal, Matthew R. Palmer, Gerald M. Kolodny, and C. Ronald Kahn


Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind those extra fat layers ?

Subcribe to E-spoons, to get e-mail updates once a month to learn how to keep your body chemistry balanced so you can burn off the extra fat.


NOTE : Privacy & spam policy. Spoonful of Science will not rent, trade or sell the e-mail list to anyone. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link.

Know someone who will find this post useful ? Share it on facebook, linkedin, twitter

Further reading

fat man in a hot house vitamin D helping caryy off the fat cells keeping cool with a snowman
 Go blue this winter to be skinny and green  Sun is more than a skin burner it is also a fat burner  Cool hands lead to hotter workouts and better health

 The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event. Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

This entry was posted in Obesity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

One Comment

  1. Anasta Gianni says:

    I could never have thought that the existence of fat itself would result in more fat burning! I am not sure however, about the safety of this method.
    Another thing I would like to ask you is if “bad” fat cells are also burnt.
    Finally, I agree that ephedrine does not have any real fat burning effects and, as a chemical substance, its use can be associated with a degree of risk.
    Fitness advice for the obese: Walking

One Trackback

  1. [...] Being given the cold shoulder causes a fat meltdown [...]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>