Already have an account?
Get back to the
Weight Loss

Activating Brown Fat Is the Strange Secret to Torching Calories — Here’s How To Do It

Good news: It's relatively easy to do.


If you set a New Year’s resolution to lose more weight but you’re having trouble shedding pounds, you’re not alone. Good news: You can turn your body’s harmful white fat, which ups the risk of heart trouble, into something called brown-white fat, which may help you lose weight. Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, say creating brown-white fat and activating your existing brown fat (which wraps around your inner organs and breaks down fat molecules to keep you warm) may help with weight loss. See the below tips to create brown-white fat, activate brown fat, and unlock the potential benefits.

Take a walk in the cold.

Whether you make snow angels with the grandkids or take a brisk walk around the block, getting outside is one way to stimulate slimming fat. Since brown fat activates right before you start to shiver, exposure to the cold may increase the number of brown fat cells and their benefits. Make it a daily habit, and National Institutes of Health scientists say you may transform white fat cells (inactive fat cells that store energy) into brown-white ones (active fat cells that burn energy and generate heat).

Darken your bedroom.

Slipping on a sleep mask or drawing heavy curtains before bed helps you sleep more deeply, and deep sleep aids in melatonin production, which energizes brown fat. In fact, a study in the Journal of Pineal Research found that melatonin may aid in keeping obesity away.

However, there is a caveat in this theory: Another study in 2019 states that sleep quality isn’t associated with increased brown fat activity. So, regardless of whether or not sleep activates brown fat, you’ll still benefit from a good night of restful, energizing, deep sleep.

Snack on nuts.

Peanuts, almonds, cashews, and other nuts are high in L-arginine, an amino acid that may spur the production of brown-white fat. The evidence: A new study in Pharmaceutics found L-arginine jump-starts the conversion of white fat into white-brown fat after seven days. Snack on a handful of nuts a day to get the benefits. Turkey breast, fish, beans, and whole grains are good choices.

Enjoy hot sauce.

Nothing warms you up on a cold day like a bowl of soup — and adding hot sauce may activate brown fat with every bite. The peppers used to make hot sauce get their kick from capsaicin, which scientists said in a 2013 study may activate brown fat and aid in weight loss.

Take a supplement.

A 2016 study found that curcumin, a component of turmeric, may help the body turn white fat into white-brown fat, as it improves metabolism. And simply taking a curcumin supplement may increase weight loss, according to additional research. Ask your doctor if a supplement, like Puritan’s Pride Turmeric Supplements, could be right for you. (Or click through to see how increasing your GLP-1 levels activates brown fat.)

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.