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Fat Keeps You Warm

Why do some of us get fat, while others stay skinny? It turns out that there is "good" fat and "bad" fat, and some of us have inherited too much of the bad (brown) stuff, which is found throughout the interior spaces of humans and other warm-blooded creatures. It may hold the secret to diets and weight-loss programs of the future because, unlike ordinary "white" fat (where the body stores excess calories), brown fat can burn calories to heat up the body. It's one of the things that helps keep us warm on cold nights.

Investigating how brown fat works in mice, researchers have uncovered what may be a holdover from our evolutionary past: in response to cold, tiny immune cells known as macrophages can switch on the brown fat, inducing it to burn energy to make heat. Prior to this research, scientists had assumed that brown fat metabolism was completely controlled by the brain. But this new data suggests that the immune system plays a backup role in this process--a legacy, perhaps, of some ancient ancestral creature whose metabolic and immune systems were much more intertwined.

Researcher Ajay Chawla says, "This is a very important secondary system that the body uses to provide a backup for the thermal stress response. It raises the possibility that we can perhaps modulate this program and enhance it in humans to rev up metabolism."

If YOU'VE been too warm (and too fat) lately, you need to download Anne Strieber's famous diet book, "What I Learned From the Fat Years." Using scientific principles, she devised a diet that helped her to lose 100 pounds and YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

Since I read The 4-Hour Body a few months ago I have experimented with using cold packs on my upper back and shoulders. First I tried two 6x12 cold packs, but it proved difficult to get them positioned so I could use them while sitting up on the couch. After two weeks of using the packs for a half hour a day, though, it was clear that I was burning more fat. At that point I discovered an 11x20 cold pack (on Amazon) and bought one. I thought that a larger pack covering the back would hit all the brown fat areas, and I was not wrong. The effect basically doubles my fat loss on the same diet. On the more-is-better principle I have been using it several times a day when I can. That seems to help too. For a totally sedentary 59 year old man with bad knees and feet, this is like getting the weight loss equivalent to an hour or more of strenuous daily exercise that I could not do. And as far as I can tell, the weight loss does not plateau at setpoints, which will gladden the hearts of yoyo dieters like myself. This is the best news since Splenda....

I thought brown fat was the good fat.
I can see the immune system connection as increasing body temperature helps you fight off infections. That is what a fever does. The higher temperature increases the metabolism/activity of your immune system and makes it harder for infectious agents to survive.

I just did my weekly weigh-in. This last week has been a no-diet week, or no more than 20% consistent with my plan – except for using the cold packs on the brown fat in my back. This was the first full week using the 11×20 pack as well, and the first week where I used the pack more than once a day (but missed several days).

I expected to go up from last week’s 338 pound figure, but I was hoping to contain the weight gain to around 2-4 pounds.

But I lost 3 pounds after eating bowls of cereal, half a cookie sheet of cookies, ice cream, tons of butter, fried food, rice, bread, eggnog, candy, and pizza. I’ve found the Holy Grail, at least for those with a paleolithic metabolism. Bring on the Ice Age!

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