The secret to fighting obesity could start with a cup of coffee.
Researchers in the U.K. think they’ve discovered a weight loss phenomenon that drinking coffee could keep fat away, as it helps the body burn fat.
Drinking a cup of coffee stimulates “brown fat,” also known as brown adipose tissue (BAT). It’s a type of fat that generates body heat via burning calories. It was only recently discovered in grown adults, as it was previously only known to be stored by babies and hibernating mammals, according to the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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Therefore, drinking more coffee activates brown fat, which triggers the body’s fat-burning system and can lower the risk of obesity and diabetes, according to researchers.
“Brown fat works in a different way to other fat in your body and produces heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold,” Michael Symonds, a professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, said in a press release. “Increasing its activity improves blood sugar control as well as improving blood lipid levels and the extra calories burnt help with weight loss. However, until now, no one has found an acceptable way to stimulate its activity in humans.”
Researchers conducted the study by fusing stem cells to see if caffeine would stimulate brown fat. When they found the right dose, they moved to humans to see if results would replicate. Scientists used thermal imaging and they were able to locate brown fat.
“This is the first study in humans to show that something like a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions. The potential implications of our results are pretty big, as obesity is a major health concern for society and we also have a growing diabetes epidemic and brown fat could potentially be part of the solution in tackling them.”
Brown fat is primarily located in the neck region, which is where researchers scouted to see how it reacted after consuming coffee.
“The results were positive and we now need to ascertain that caffeine as one of the ingredients in the coffee is acting as the stimulus or if there’s another component helping with the activation of brown fat,” Symonds explains. “We are currently looking at caffeine supplements to test whether the effect is similar.”