In adults, the calorie-burning "brown fat" that's become a sought-after target in the war on obesity is actually not brown at all, but beige, according to new research.
"We've identified a third type of fat cell," study researcher Bruce Spiegelman of Harvard Medical School said in a statement. "There's white, brown and now there is this third type that is present in most or all human beings."
Brown fat is a type of fat tissue that burns calories to generate heat. Finding safe ways to increase brown fat's activity might be one way to fight obesity, experts have said.
Previously, scientists thought brown fat only existed in babies and children. That is until 2009, when researchers showed it is metabolically active in adults — brown fat was found in between 3% and 7.5% of adults, with higher rates among women. Brown fat increases until puberty and then declines, scientists say.
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