Summary: Studies show that people with a higher percentage of brown fat tissue are leaner, have better blood sugar levels, and a better metabolism.
Types of fat in the body
There are two types of fat in our bodies: white fat and brown fat.
White fat, which we all know, is the outcome of having too many calories. The surplus of calories is converted and stored as white fat cells, mainly around our hips and thighs. Excess white fat tissue in the body can lead to many health problems including obesity and diabetes.
Brown fat has a dark red color because it contains lots of iron. It is stored in the neck areas and its main function is to generate heat by burning calories.
Brown fat guards against diabetes
In a recent study, researchers compared several men with either high or low brown fat tissue to see how much energy they produce in regular or slightly cold environments. They collected samples throughout the experiment to monitor glucose levels, insulin, hormones, oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production.
They found that, in slightly cold temperatures, the brown fat tissue is activated and increases energy production, thus burning more calories.
What is even more significant is that brown fat tissue contributes to regulating blood sugar levels and can therefore help in controlling diabetes.
Increasing brown fat?
Brown fat exists in newborn children as approximately 5% of their body weight. It helps them protect themselves against cold by raising their body temperatures.
As we grow up, the amount of brown fat content decreases.
It is not yet known whether we can do something to increase brown fat content in our bodies, but stimulating fat brown cells can burn between 300 and 500 calories per day.
Dr Nagi Safa
Dr Nagi Safa is a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeon (Weight-Loss Surgeon) at the Advanced BMI in Lebanon and at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, and holds an academic appointment at the University of Montreal. Furthermore, he is involved in the training of residents and surgical fellows on how to perform advanced laparoscopic obesity surgery. In 2010, he launched the Advanced Bariatric and Metabolic Institute (Advanced BMI) in Lebanon, and has been helping hundreds of patients from all over the Middle-East through his expertise in obesity surgery.
Education: Dr Safa completed his residency training at the University of Montreal General Surgery Program. He then performed a fellowship in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and Minimal Invasive Surgery (Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery), at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, which is the largest Weight Loss Surgery center in the Montreal area, and one of the busiest in Canada.
Experience: During his training, and throughout his practice, Dr Safa performed more than one thousand laparoscopic procedures, including Roux en Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding, gastric plication and many other abdominal surgery procedures. He has a particular interest in LaparoscopicRevisional Surgery including banding, bypass and sleeve.
With a keen interest in the advancement of obesity surgery and newer minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr Safa gained experience in the single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), and offers Single Incision gastric banding and Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery.
Research: His current research interests include clinical outcomes from various bariatric surgery procedures and investigations on the impact of bariatric surgery on Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome X.
Memberships: Dr Safa holds professional memberships with the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons, Canadian Association of General Surgeons, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Association for Surgical Oncology, Quebec Medical Association, Trauma Association of Canada, Association Quebecoise de Chirurgie, International College of Surgeon, and the College des Medecins du Quebec.