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White Fat, Brown Fat—Now Beige Fat?

http://media.soundmedicine.org/segments/080413_3.mp3

For years, scientists have known that humans have two types of fat: white and brown. White fat stores energy as large fat droplets, and brown fat serves as an energy burner that helps heat the human body. Brown fat is most prevalent in babies and fades as humans age. According to Sheila Collins, Ph.D., a new color, beige fat, has recently been discovered in rodents and humans. The beige fat is a homogenous cluster of brown fat that functions as an energy-burner and responds to adrenaline and hormonal stimulants. Clinical studies show a correlation between very active brown and beige fat and lowering blood glucose levels or preventing diabetes. Although these studies are still in the early stages, scientists hope their findings will someday help prevent obesity and lower blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.