Melbourne: Staying in a cool environment may help you stay fit as researchers have discovered that such environment stimulates growth of brown fat that burns energy to generate heat and may protect people from diabetes and obesity.
Ambient temperatures can influence the growth or loss of brown fat in people, cool environments stimulate growth, warm environments loss, the findings showed.Previous studies have shown that people with plentiful brown fat stores tend to be lean and have low blood sugar levels.
"The big unknown until this study was whether or not we could actually manipulate brown fat to grow and shrink in a human being," said endocrinologist Paul Lee from Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia.
"What we found was that the cold month increased brown fat by around 30-40 percent," Lee added.
For the study, the researchers recruited five healthy men and exposed them to four-month-long periods of defined temperature - within the range from 19 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius.
They lived their normal lives during the day and returned each night to stay for at least 10 hours in a temperature-regulated room.
Independent of the season during which the study was carried out, brown fat increased during the cool month and fell during the warm month.
"The improvement in insulin sensitivity accompanying brown fat gain may open new avenues in the treatment of impaired glucose metabolism in the future," Lee said.On the other hand, the reduction in mild cold exposure from widespread central heating in contemporary society may impair brown fat function and may be a hidden contributor to obesity and metabolic disorders, Lee added.
The study appeared in the journal Diabetes.Women burn more calories when they exercise after taking proteinWashington: A new study has suggested that women should follow a high-protein meal with half an hour of moderate exercise as it burns more calories as compared to exercising on an empty stomach.
Ashley Binns, a doctoral student in kinesiology and exercise science who led the study at the University of Arkansas, said the goal was to determine the interaction between the thermic effect of food and exercise on the body's total energy expenditure, as measured in calories .
Thermic effect is the amount of energy that it takes to digest, store and utilize the food we eat.
Binns said that her team looked at the effects of protein consumption alone on total energy expenditure and protein consumption combined with exercise, and found that with exercise, there is a trend for a continued increase in caloric expenditure with higher protein consumption.
Additionally, the consumption of the high- or low-protein meals resulted in greater energy expenditure than the fasted state, she said.
"That means that eating prior to exercise does provide fuel to burn, making us more like an energy-burning machine," she asserted.
Ten "recreationally active" college-age women of normal body weight participated in the study. For their testing sessions, they were given a high-protein meal, low-protein meal, or no food at all, before walking on a treadmill.
Binns said that previous studies involving high- and low-protein diets have typically examined the athletic populations and morbidly obese individuals, but she wanted to see what the thermic effect of food was like for a normal individual, who didn't have any metabolic disorders or medications that would affect their metabolism.Exercise was key to the study, Binns said, because high-protein diets without exercise can lead to muscle loss.
With just a high-protein diet and no exercise, the body heats up to break down the protein but what also happens is it breaks down muscle, she said.
The study has been published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.
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