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!

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