Let’s talk about the “F-Word,” “Fat” that is. For so many years fat has been vilified to the Nth
degree — sometimes correctly and sometimes not (turns out there are some really healthy fats –
hello avocado and olive oil!)
That said, most of us are not fans of fat on us, you know, the “wobbly bits” and more importantly,
the kind around the middle that pushes us towards diabetes.
But it turns out, just like cupcake fat and avocado fat, the fat on us can be both bad and good –
meet white and brown fat. Brown fat, more scientifically called “brown adipose tissue” contains a
high number of iron-containing mitochondria (which is what makes it brown). Brown fat’s purpose is
to keep you warm using food as fuel. How brilliant is that? Keep you warm and burn calories? Sign
me up. On the other hand white fat rather lazily stores energy and doesn’t do anything with it
except make your jeans tight.
Once thought to only be found in babies and hibernating mammals, researchers have found that
brown fat does exist in small amounts in adults around the heart, brain, neck and spinal cord. Even
better news is that scientists have discovered a way to help turn lazy white fat into, efficient brown
fat – repeated exposure to the cold. Much like exercise, shivering causes muscles to release a
hormone, irisin, telling the body to use the brown fat.
University of California at Berkeley research discovered that exposure to cold stimulates the levels
of a protein called “transcription factor Zfp516” which in turn helps white fat act more like brown fat,
burning calories to keep you warm. Even better, the more brown fat you have the more you burn,
meaning your metabolic rate is increased.
In fact, one study noticed that people who worked outside in northern Finland (which is cold) had
more brown fat than compared to people of the same age who worked inside leading to the
hypothesis that repeated time in the cold produces more brown fat.
At LondonCryo, it’s easy to see why we are so passionate about this topic; imagine an efficient two-three-minute burst of dry cold mist pulsating at a temperature of -140ºC in one of our CryoCabins™, alternatively or you could get a job logging in northern Finland….decisions, decisions!