The Health Guru Who Eats 5,000 Calories in One Meal & Says He's Healthy
How Eating More Calories Helps You Burn More Calories
Here's a new and compelling reason not to starve yourself: A study recently published in the journal Cell shows that the brain can actually listen and respond to fullness singals by turning white fat (the unhealthy stuff that ups your risk for heart disease and diabetes) into brown fat (the good-for-you fat that helps your body burn calories).
When researchers at the Yale School of Medicine studied the behavior of hunger-regulating neurons in the brains of mice, they found that the hunger and appetite signals act on brain neurons to control fat browning. Eating too few calories (unsurprisingly) caused hunger in the mice, which prevented white fat from turning brown. But eating a normal, hunger-satisfying amount of caloriesencouragedthe browning of white fat—and actually kept the mice from gaining weight.
MORE:How To (Really) Lose Belly Fat After 40
This isn’t the first study to look at how brown fat works. Research published earlier this year discovered that exposure to mildly cold temperatures also spurs brown fat production and helps the body burn more calories in an attempt to produce heat and stay warm. But now, experts know where brown fat actually comes from in the first place. “It’s actually eating that encourages white fat to turn brown. If you eat, you promote heat production,” says lead study author Xiaoyong Yang, PhD.
From an evolutionary standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. If food is scarce—as it often was during the caveman days—your body burns fewer calories to save valuable energy. Once food becomes abundant and you start eating more, the calorie-burning can pick up, too.
The question, of course, is how to find the right balance between eating enough to encourage fat-browning, but not so much that you gain weight. So far experts can’t offer a magic number of calories to aim for, since more research is needed to see how hunger and appetite cause white fat to brown in humans. Still, it’s probably not a bad idea to nix behaviors like overeating followed by crash dieting. “Those habits could wear out your brain’s capacity to control fat burning,” Yang says.
Video: How Many Calories You Need to Eat to Lose Weight
The Must-See Moments From Peter Copping’s Oscar De La Renta Debut
How to Make Brush Guards With Tape
How to Use Social Media to Aid Weight Loss
Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches
How to Lose Weight (Men Above 25)
Stayin Alive With Hands-Only CPR
Announcing the 2019 Live Longer Stronger Challenge
The First Thing Our Editors Would Do If They Won the Powerball LotteryJackpot
How to Identify Teak Wood
Ask a Makeup Artist: How Do I Keep My Smoky Eye from Becoming a Mess
8. Ignoring The Rules
What HAIM Did After Learning They Got Paid 10 Times Less Than aMan
Salmon and Asparagus Salad
These Are the 7 Haircuts That Never Go Out of Style