How To Make More ‘Good’ Body Fat to Burn ‘Bad’ Body Fat

Did you know the type of fat you have, determines your body's ability to do 2 things:

  • burn off calories
  • maintain healthy body weight

Yes,  if you carry more of a special type of fat called brown fat you're in luck. The brown color is because it has mitochondria, the powerhouse of a cell that burns calories.

Scientists have long known that there are two types of fat – regular (white) and brown fat.

The white fat just sits there storing extra calories, but the brown fat is active and burns calories. This is because the mitochondria in brown fat use energy to produce heat.


This may sound bizarre, but just a few brown fat cells can help to burn several hundred calories in a day. You'll need more brown fat and less of the white fat to prevent weight problems and other diseases.

The brown fat mystery

Until a few years ago, scientists believed only babies carried brown fat.

Since, babies do not shiver like adults to generate heat, they rely on their brown fat to keep warm. Scientists thought that as one grows into adulthood, most brown fat disappears.

Yet, three different studies found that adults do have brown fat.

All this sounds good, but where is it located in my body?

Well, brown fat is difficult to spot as they are underneath deep layers of skin. Yet, PET /CT imaging tells where you can find them in your body:

  • Front of the neck and the sides
  • Chest region
  • Extending to shoulders and upper arms
  • Shoulder blades
  • Just above collarbone
  • Upper back
  • Along the sides of the spine (upper region)

Research studies on brown fats also found: 

  • Young people are more likely to have more brown fat than older people.
  • There was less brown fat among overweight and obese people.
  • Brown fat was more in adults who were thin.
  • People with more brown fat had faster metabolic rate and healthy blood sugar levels as well.

But don't worry, everyone has at least a few grams of brown fat. That is enough to get started, here are three effective ways to increase brown fats.


3 Ways to make more brown fat

1. Exercise

Exercise is good for your muscles, as well as increasing brown fats.

A study in mice, showed that exercise helped convert white fat to brown fat. Researchers found that an enzyme called irisin, helped convert white fat to brown fat.

In humans, 10 weeks of endurance training, helped to make brown fat from white fat. There was a 2-fold increase in the irisin levels compared to the non-exercised state.

This explains why, people lose weight on a regular exercise plan.

2. Sleep well

Plenty of research shows lack of sleep can make you gain weight.  Recent studies, connect sleep, melatonin and brown fat levels to weight issues.

A 2011 study confirms that sleep increases your brown fat, as well as their activity levels. This is because, melatonin released during sleep regulate brown fat activity.

Practice healthy sleeping habits, cut artificial light sources, and excessive light exposure after darkness. This will encourage melatonin secretion.

Also, foods like tomatoes, cardamom, almonds, and tart cherries also help increase melatonin production.

3. Cold Temperature

It is interesting to know, cold temperatures helps make brown fat. A 2009 Swedish study found that cold weather increased fat burning even in inactivity.

This is what the study found-

  • exposure to cold weather increased activity in regions where brown fat sits.
  • Subjects burned calories although they were not doing any physical activity.

If you dislike the idea of exposing to cold temperature, try this alternative. Include foods that kick in brown fat activity.

A 2015 study found that consuming capsaicin (green chilies) can mimic the effects of cold to activate brown fat. Likewise, green tea, apples, blueberries and cranberries also help activate brown fat.

Stay active, get restful sleep and choose the right foods. You can turn your body into a fat-burning furnace with brown fat.

Yours in Health,


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