Human fat is something which one would marvel if only they knew its true power and mystery but alas! For many of them, they are only an object of angst, scorn and torment.

But for one instance, let us just look at them through different eyes. And I don’t mean to look at them as being why others are under or overweight; I am just observing them from the knowledgeable point of view.

So, let’s just start with the two types of fat that we as human beings have in our body.


Known to compose of fat droplets (small lipid) along with a large number of mitochondria (the heat burning engine of the cell and which contains iron), it is this iron which gives this fat the brown colour that we all know of since this iron also contains lots of tiny blood vessels.

Found usually in the neck and upper back (front and back), its purpose is to generate heat by burning calories. And since this fat helps in burning calories, it is most often referred to as ‘good fat’. Found in newborns and animals, this fat is derived from tissue (muscle) and which decreases in quantity as the infant slowly grows up. Another noticeable fact are those adults who tends to have more brown fat are found to be younger and they also, comparatively have normal blood sugar levels as compared to those adults who have less brown fat.

Brown fat is generated by exercising and only then, the white fat can be converted into this brown fat. Not only that, getting enough sleep influences the production of brown fat as high-quality sleep leads to the proper production of melatonin. Another way of generating fat is to expose yourself to the cold regularly.

The bottom line is that you want this brown fat as much as possible and it’s time to bring on the brown.


This fat is quite the opposite of brown fat as it composed of fewer mitochondria and blood vessels and also, it consists of a single droplet (liquid lipid), which in turns results in the colour – white or yellow.

Known to originate from the tissue (connective), it is the most predominant form of fat in our body and has many purposes such as –

–           It acts as a cushion for our internal organs during our interactions (external) with the environment.

–           It acts as a thermal insulator.

–           It produces estrogen as well as leptin (Hormone which regulates our appetite and hunger) as it is a vital organ (endocrine).

–           Insulin, cortisol, adrenaline are some of the few for which white fat has got its receptors.

In women, white fat is found basically in the hips, thighs, breasts and buttocks as well as the abdomen until the forties; while the men seem to gather the white fat in their belly area primarily.

Point to be noted is that excess of white fat in the body can lead to a host of problems such as heart disease, diabetes and one of a fatal form of disease – cancer. Not only that, but it is also associated with sleep apnea and knee arthritis.

Consume too many calories and you will be generating white fat.

For us, it is very vital to keep white fat in our body for our survival, but it needs to keep in mind as to how much and where should we locate our fat. The best way to control fat is to keep the waistline at thirty-five inches and not more than that in women and men, the waistline should be kept to less than forty inches.

Have you heard of white fat ever interacting with brown fat? Yes, it does interact with each other. In fact, when you overeat, it increases the white fat but then because of the overconsumption, the brown fat becomes dysfunctional and as a result, it becomes unable to burn calories.

From now on, for a balanced eating plan do try to optimise your brown fat and manage the white fat. In short, you should eat whole foods in the right amount, stay active and manage stress and lead a happy and active lifestyle. That way, you will remain fit and also, your health will be top notch.

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Marcelo is the co-founder and Director of Exercise Physiology at Intense Health, Perth's #1 Private Strength Training and Nutrition Clinics.


Marcelo is the co-founder and Director of Exercise Physiology at Intense Health, Perth's #1 Private Strength Training and Nutrition Clinics.