Researchers found that food activates brown fat, according to a study published on August 29, 2018.
This study was conducted by the researchers at the Technical University of Munich. Since energy is consumed by brown fat, it could be important for preventing obesity and diabetes. Researchers of this study demonstrated that food increases the thermogenesis of brown fat.
Brown adipose tissue in human body has been used for many studies, as it has the exact opposite function of white adipose tissue, which stores energy in the form of storage fats called triacylglycerides. Specifically, brown fat burns the energy of the triacylglycerides and this process is called as thermogenesis. However, over time, the activity of adipose tissue will change. It will decrease with age, just as in obese individuals and diabetics. Therefore, by developing method to heat up thermogenesis in brown fat, obesity and diabetes can be prevented.
For this study, the same subjects were investigated twice: once after it was exposed to a cold stimulus and the second time after ingestion of a carbohydrate-rich meal. Important markers for thermogenesis were measured before and after, which not only included the absorption of glucose and fatty acids, but also the oxygen consumption in brown fat. To do so, the researchers employed indirect calorimetry in combination with positron emission tomography and computer tomography (PET/CT). Further studies and experiments will be carried out to find out if this energy is simply lost or whether this phenomenon has another function.