Fri, Mar-27-20, 05:57
Why fat is a vital part of our body — from boosting metabolism to feeling fuller
Why fat is a vital part of our body — from boosting metabolism to feeling fuller for longer
WORRIED about piling on the pounds while stuck at home on lockdown?
Give yourself a break, because fat is VITAL.
New book Fat: The Secret Organ by doctors Mariette Boon and Liesbeth Van Rossum, an obesity specialist, aims to shed light on an aspect of our body that gets a bad press.
But it does not mean you should reach for the ice cream tub just yet.
Natasha Harding looks at the authors’ fat facts and tips on how to boost metabolism and feel fuller for longer.
Kinds of fat
FAT is an organ, just like our heart and lungs, and is spread over our entire body.
The largest fat masses are found in the belly and just beneath the skin in areas such as our faces, feet and upper arms.
But we have two kinds of fat — white and brown.
The main one is white. It provides energy when no food is available for an extended time. Brown fat converts calories into heat, and in this way can help you lose fat.
Mariette and Liesbeth say: “Fat provides our other organs with a continuous supply of fuel. It also produces countless hormones to communicate remotely with organs such as the brain.For example, it produces hormones that curb your appetite if you’ve just eaten a big plate of chips.”
When we are underweight, our fat does not produce enough of certain hormones. This hormonal imbalance has various effects and can result in infertility.
If we are overweight, our fat releases too many hormones that interfere with all kinds of bodily processes.
Conditions linked to being overweight include Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, infertility, depression and also some kinds of cancer.
Learning to increase the effects of our brown fat can boost our metabolisms and help us lose weight.
Try these ways to “train” this fat.
Train your fat
Brown fat is sensitive to cold and remember, there is nothing wrong with being cold once in a while, so try these tips every day:
- Use cold water for the last few minutes of your shower to switch on your brown fat stores. The cold water will also strengthen your immune system and boost your mood.
- Take a cold bath occasionally. It promotes fat loss.
- Turn down the heating by a few degrees for a few hours every day, without putting on a sweater. Recent research revealed that when healthy young men were exposed to a temperature of 17C (just below room temperature) for two hours a day for six weeks, they lost nearly two pounds of body fat.
- Allow children to play outside without a jacket more often. It will boost their resilience as well as their brown fat stores.
- Even after gyms reopen following lockdown, exercise outside rather than in, especially when it is chilly. Exercising outside also lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and gives us a much-needed shot of vitamin D.
- Eat red pepper and drink coffee and green tea. These have been shown to activate brown fat.