New Obesity Treatments Possible
Not all fat is created equal. Your "brown fat" burns calories but your "white fat," otherwise known as belly fat or visceral fat, gets stored. Scientists at the Vascular Disease Prevention Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School report that they have found a way to get white fat to act more like brown fat. According to HealthDay, lead author Dr. Jorge Plutzky and colleagues contend that their findings could "lead to new obesity treatments."
Their study, published in the May 6 online edition of the journal Nature Medicine, reports that blocking vitamin A metabolism in white fat caused white fat to acquire the beneficial characteristics of brown fat. "Brown fat, and mechanisms that might allow white fat to take on brown fat characteristics, has been receiving increasing attention as a possible way to treat obesity and its complications," Dr. Plutzky said in a hospital news release. "Although more work is needed, we can add specific aspects of retinoid metabolism to those factors that appear involved in determining white versus brown fat."
Given the fact that fully 1/3 of adults this country are classified as obese by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this research could be a huge boon. In the meantime, though, don't ignore the fact that regular exercise and a healthy diet remain your best bets for paring off the unwanted pounds!