Science and Tech


Keeping Cool Boosts 'Good' Brown Fat, Could Fight Diabetes

A new study says sleeping in cooler temperatures boosts brown fat, a form of fat that's easier to burn and could help control diabetes.
Posted at 7:26 PM, Jun 23, 2014

If you’re working on getting fit for the beach, you might want to turn up your A/C.

A new study, published in the journal Diabetes, shows exposure to cooler temperatures stimulates the growth of brown fat. If you’re new to that term, a University of Massachusetts researcher explains –

“Instead of storing the fat, it burns the fat and generate heat. … Because it’s burning fat as heat you could imagine that it could promote weight loss.” (Via University of Massachusetts)

​Essentially brown fat is good; white fat is bad. But Science World Report says, “How brown fat is regulated in people and how it relates to metabolism has been somewhat unclear.”

To test the theory, SBS reports researchers had five healthy men sleep in climate controlled rooms for four-months.  

For the first month, they slept in a “climate neutral” 75 degrees, so their bodies didn’t need to do anything to keep warm. For the next month, researchers dropped the temp to 66 degrees.

One of the study’s researchers says “What we found was that the cold month increased brown fat by around 30-40 percent.” (Via Garvan Institute)

Then, when the temperature was cranked up to about 80 degrees for the last month, researchers reported a drop in brown fat.

While the slight chill might help you get trim, the increase in brown fat could also help people with diabetes. (Via Flickr / clarkmaxwell)

HeathDayreports, the research found greater amounts of brown fat corresponded to greater insulin sensitivity. “That means that that people with more brown fat required less insulin after a meal to bring their blood sugar levels down.”

So anybody else going to go check the thermostat?