One more reason to exercise

Recent study finds that exercise turns bad fat (white) into good fat (brown).

A study presented in Chicago during June 2013 at the American Diabetes Association meeting showed that men who trained for 12 weeks on an exercise bicycle showed a browning of their subcutaneous white adipose tissue (white fat). The difference between white and brown fat is that white fat is more plentiful than brown fat in the human body. White fat stores energy and is the fat that is lost when a person looses weight. Brown fat on the other hand, is less abundant in the human body, but recent studies found that leaner people have more brown fat than overweight or obese people. It is also known that children and babies have more brown fat than adults. It is thought that when brown fat is stimulated, it burns more calories and acts more like muscle tissue than white fat.

In a separate study in mice, brown fat was linked with better glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, suggesting that brown fat may play a role in preventing diabetes.

The results of these studies build on earlier findings, showing that brown fat contains calorie burning properties and may help protect against age related weight gain. These studies also suggest that exercise is beneficial even if it doesn’t result in weight loss and that it not only affects muscle, but it affects fat as well.

For more information on how to start an exercise program, please contact your physician. Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs that focus on lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes and other chronic illnesses by incorporating physical activity and healthy eating.

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