'Good' Fat is a New Weapon in the Obesity Fight
September 13, 2008
A new understanding of brown fat cells -- the "good" kind of fat that burns energy and keeps you warm -- could lead to new treatments for obesity.
Researchers managed to use a single molecular switch to turn immature muscle cells into brown fat cells in the lab, suggesting that brown fat may be more akin to muscle cells than conventional white fat cells. Another team has discovered that a protein important for bone growth helped promote the development of brown fat tissue in mice.
Both teams said their new findings lend understanding about the origins of brown fat, which releases energy, in contrast to conventional white fat, which stores energy.
Researchers believe that if they can coax the body into making more calorie-burning brown fat, this might help obese people lose weight.