The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business.
As a result, when researchers “think” they may have found a way to transform “ooey-gooey” white body fat into “make you skinny” brown fat, the industry….as well as the mainstream media stand up and take notice.
So, when I found this study, I was super excited because:
- I knew it would get a lot of attention from the mainstream media – see ABC News video below
- The solution doesn’t involve pharmaceuticals, supplements, exercise equipment or diets.
In the study, researchers found that when you remove lab mice from their boring, couch potato-like and place them in an enriched environment with more mice, more wheels to run on, more mazes to navigate and more toys to play with, they:
- Eat more food
- Burn more calories
- Lose a ton of weight
In fact, “after four weeks in the enriched environment, the animals’ abdominal fat decreased by fifty percent. That amount is far more than you would get with a treadmill.”
So, what gives?
How were the mice able to eat more food AND lose more weight?
The theory is that mice (or humans) who life an “enriched” lifestyle filled with activity, complexity and social engagement are exposed to positive stresses and their bodies respond by:
- Stimulating production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hypothalamus
- The increased BDNF triggers sympathetic nervous signals to white fat masses in the body.
- These signals activate genes specific for brown fat such as Prdm16 and Ucp1, and suppress white-fat genes such as Resn.
- This causes the “browning” of white fat and the burning of stored energy.
Even better, previous research has shown that living an “enriched” lifestyle can also:
- Shrink cancerous tumors
- Create new brain neurons
- Improve memory & learning capabilities
- Protect the brain from injuries
Humans are social creatures.
We aren’t meant to sit at home every night watching tv or surfing the interwebs.
So, get off the couch and…
- Call a friend
- Make a friend
- Do something after work
- Shake your booty
- Take a class
- Meet new people
- Do stuff
- Take a group exercise class
- Learn something
- Teach something
- Get a life
- And maybe drop a few pounds.