The Loh Down On Science

Good news! Muscles aren't the only tissues we can train!

Joslin Diabetes Center

Laurie Goodwin, Ph.D. (left) and Kristin Stanford, Ph.D. of the Joslin Diabetes Center.

Can you train your body fat to be helpful?
 
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying, yes you can!

They key, say researchers from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, is exercise!  Exercise can convert the sluggish, no-account white fat you get from sitting around ... into active, go-getter brown fat, which revs up your metabolism!

The Joslin team discovered this with training programs for mice and humans.  Mice ran on an exercise wheel over eleven days; male volunteers did twelve weeks of aerobic training.  When the researchers later tested both groups' fat?  Both had undergone a so-called browning of their flabby white tissue—bad fat had been turned good!

Next the team transplanted trained-mouse fat into couch-potato mice.  The result?  Increased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity . . . in other words, less chance of developing diabetes!

The researchers are quick to say this transformation doesn’t affect six-inch-deep belly fat, just the fat right under the skin.

And that's our transformative but slightly depressing tale . . . of mice and men.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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