‘Beige’ Fat Cells: New Japanese Study Shows That Adding More Good Fat To Diet Can Help The Body Burn Off The Bad Fat

Adding Omega-3s To The Diet Can Help The Body Attack And Burn Off Bad Fat, Says New Japanese Study Looking at Beige Fat Cells

There have been so many diet fads over the years–and in this age of instantaneous 24/7 information, the fads change month to month or even week to week–that it is difficult to keep up sometimes.

From Weight Watchers to The South Beach Diet to the Atkins Diet to the Paleo Diet–to probably some thousand more “miracle cure” diets that you or I have never heard of, it seems like modern humans can’t give up on the notion that if only we cut out or restrict some particular food from diet, we will wake up one day with the svelte body of a 20-year-old model.

Now, however, a new study out Japan indicates that people who actually increase their fat intake may be able to burn more calories than their counterparts who don’t.

To be sure, the researchers are talking about a very specific subset of fats, specifically the fatty acids found in omega-3s. But when mice were fed diets rich in omega-3s, the research seems to show that their bodies turned “bad” fat cells into healthy, calorie-burning cells.

Especially as we age, we lose more and more of these “good” fat cells that help our bodies process and burn calories. This contributes to the dreaded “middle-age spread” and the spare tire so many 40-plus people carry around with them.

But for some researchers, the findings were not at all surprising.

“We knew from previous research that fish oil has tremendous health benefits, including the prevention of fat accumulation,” said study lead Professor Teruo Kawada. “We tested whether fish oil and an increase in beige cells could be related. People have long said that food from Japan and the Mediterranean contribute [sic] to longevity, but why these cuisines are beneficial was up for debate.”

Considering that the mice used in the study, when fed diets rich in fatty omega-3 acids gained 5 to 10 percent less weight and were 15 to 25 percent less fat after four months of the diet, people who are still on the fence about previous findings on Mediterranean typs meal plans might want to reconsider their hesitation.

The conclusion the researchers reached is that not all fatty tissues actually store fat. What they found was that while “white” cells do indeed store fat, they do so to preserve energy. Whereas “brown” adipose cells metabolize or burn fat to regulate the temperature of the body and maintain a healthy weight. Recently discovered beige fat cells function much like the brown cells, burning fat, but they decrease as we age.

So if you want to burn fat, take your omega-3s, eat lots of fish, thank the slim, Japanese mice who have shown us the way, and remember, when it comes to burning fat:

Beige is the new black.

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