Damn it’s cold outside! This was my thought as my knuckles were becoming numb on a frosty Adelaide Hills’ morning on my regular run!

We are all no doubt struggling through some of these colder months, so I thought this was the perfect time to talk about how our body’s natural warming system could possibly be a way to keep ourselves from putting on weight.

Scientists our now discovering that a type of fat storage tissue called Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) is more important than we first thought.

In fact only 50g of BAT can account for up to 20% of someone’s daily energy expenditure!

So what is this BAT and how do we get more of it?

We are all born with this mysterious tissue called BAT but it seems to disappear with age. Why this happens we are not so sure, but what we do know is that it remains in just over 7.5% of females and just over 3% of males. What we also know is that if your overweight it’s more than likely that you do not possess any of this tissue which essentially uses our boy fat like “wood to a fire” keeping us toasty from the inside out.

What I found very interesting when I read a paper on BAT in the latest publication of Clinical Endocrinology is that the presence of BAT was more likely if it was colder, and it seems to kick into gear during the winter months. So do we start to lose our BAT stores, which are present at birth, purely because we no longer need them to keep us warm?

Gone are the days where we used to have to huddle in caves during those colder winter months!

No doubt scientists are very excited about the discovery that some leaner individuals still possess BAT throughout adulthood and can be triggered again through cold environments, and they are know trying to find ways that they can trigger BAT in individuals to help us lose weight.

But what can we do with this information?

I think for me the biggest take away point is that we shouldn’t be afraid of the cold, especially if we start to use it as an excuse to not exercise! We might be getting extra benefit from exercising in the colder months that we are unable to get in the warmer ones.

Perhaps even we were born to handle a bit of cold!

So for all you people that are still getting up early in the morning during these cold winter months to brave the conditions and exercise, well done! You may well be firing up those BAT furnaces inside of you, helping you stay lean!


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