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Diet and Nutrition

Brown Fat

11/25/2002

Question:

I inquired earlier about the weightloss contributions of Green Tea. it is my understanding that the caffeine in Green Tea stimulates the thermogenisis in brown fat. However, I just recently learned that brown fat is mostly found in newborns and rarely in adults. I realize this isn`t your specific field, but is this true?

Answer:

The body has two types of adipose tissue, namely white and brown. White adipose tissue stores fat that can be used by cells for energy, while brown adipose tissue releases stored fat as heat. Radiating heat allows the body to spend, rather than store, energy. Heat production (and brown fat) is important in newborns and in animals that hibernate. However, most adults have only very small amounts of brown fat. The role of brown fat in the regulation of body weight is not completely understood at this time. 

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Response by:

Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD Bonnie J Brehm, PhD, RD
Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati