Brown adipose tissue (BAT), also known as brown fat, is one of two types of fat found in humans and other mammals, said researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK.
Initially only attributed to babies and hibernating mammals, it was discovered in recent years that adults can have brown fat too.
Its main function is to generate body heat by burning calories, opposed to white fat, which is a result of storing excess calories.
People with a lower body mass index (BMI) therefore have a higher amount of brown fat.
Cut Sugar, Lose Body Fat & Quit Smoking: Lifestyle Habits To Ditch Diabetes
Diabetes is among the fastest growing health issues today in India.
The rising prevalence of diabetes is primarily driven by a combination of various factors such as rapid urbanisation, sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, tobacco use, and even increased life expectancy.
Although there are certain factors one can't change such as your genes, age or past behaviours, but there are many actions one can take to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Dr Varsha Khatry, Head - Medical and Scientific Affair at Roche Diabetes Care India shares some easy ways to not only reduce the risk of diabetes, but also prevent it.
"Brown fat works in a different way to other fat in your body and produces heat by burning sugar and fat, often in response to cold," said Professor Michael Symonds, from the University of Nottingham.
"Increasing its activity improves blood sugar control as well as improving blood lipid levels and the extra calories burnt help with weight loss. However, until now, no one has found an acceptable way to stimulate its activity in humans," said Symonds.
"This is the first study in humans to show that something like a cup of coffee can have a direct effect on our brown fat functions.
"The potential implications of our results are pretty big, as obesity is a major health concern for society and we also have a growing diabetes epidemic and brown fat could potentially be part of the solution in tackling them," he said.
The team started with a series of stem cell studies to see if caffeine would stimulate brown fat.
Once they had found the right dose, they then moved on to humans to see if the results were similar.
The team used a thermal imaging technique, which they had previously pioneered, to trace the body's brown fat reserves. The non-invasive technique helps the team to locate brown fat and assess its capacity to produce heat.
"From our previous work, we knew that brown fat is mainly located in the neck region, so we were able to image someone straight after they had a drink to see if the brown fat got hotter," said Symonds.
"The results were positive and we now need to ascertain that caffeine as one of the ingredients in the coffee is acting as the stimulus or if there's another component helping with the activation of brown fat. We are currently looking at caffeine supplements to test whether the effect is similar.
"Once we have confirmed which component is responsible for this, it could potentially be used as part of a weight management regime or as part of glucose regulation programme to help prevent diabetes," he said.
Want To Keep Diabetes Away? Eat Walnuts, Apples, Carrots
Foods For Diabetics
While being active, staying hydrated, and checking blood glucose levels can work wonders, it is important to stick to a dietary plan that will ward off diabetes in the long run.
A recent study showed that antioxidant-rich walnuts can nearly halve the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.
For patients, the ideal diabetic diet plan would be to have 1200-1600 calories per day. It is recommended that diabetics should eat good carbs, fats, and healthy proteins, but in small portions.
Doctors and dieticians share ultimate list of foods you must consume to stay healthy.
Also read: The comprehensive diabetes guide