In a study published Monday, researchers at the University of Nottingham said that coffee may help stimulate our brown fat reserves, also known as brown adipose tissue, which play a key role in how quickly we can burn calories.
There are two forms of fat cells, brown cells and white cells, and each plays a different role in our metabolism.
While brown cells help generate heat, white cells are responsible for the storage of fat — or, energy — ready for release as needed. Levels of brown fat are known to be high in children but recent findings on the presence of brown fat in adults has restored hope to use them as targets to treat obesity.
“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, said professor Michael Symonds, from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, who co-directed the study.
“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.”
The scientists started by testing out coffee on stem cells to see if it would stimulate brown fat. Once they found the right dose, they moved on to humans to see if the results were similar.