Not all fat cells are the same, and researchers are tapping into the differences in an effort to fight the obesity epidemic.
Their efforts focus on white fat, adipose tissue that stores calories, and brown fat, adipose tissue that burns calories and generates heat in the process. In a recent advance, investigators identified a hormone produced by muscle during exercise that instructs cells within white adipose depots to take on the characteristics of brown adipose cells, creating what the researchers have termed beige fat cells.
Hampton T. “Browning” of White Fat May Help in the Ongoing Fight Against Obesity. JAMA. 2012;308(11):1080. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.11403