Fat-Burning Brown-Fat, Paleo and Post-Menopause, & Why You Should Drink Less Caffeine

There are a few things that you should know about this week.

Two that are related:

  1. There’s an enzyme that can boost metabolism in heat-producing brown fat tissue.
  2. Certain bile acids can turn white-fat fat-deposits into metabolically active brown-fat like tissue.

Two that are seemingly unrelated:

  1. Paleo diets help post-menopausal women lose weight and maintain weight-loss.
  2. People who consume caffeine regularly will not see performance enhancing benefits from caffeine.

The cliff-notes

  1. Go get cold.Cold exposure increases blood-flow to fat tissue, and may aid in the conversion of white-fat into beige-fat, which generates heat and increases metabolic rate. Yes, that means more weight loss.
  2. Reducing intake of cereals, milk, refined sugar, and added salt helped a group of women lose weight and keep it off for 2 years!
  3. If you want to get the most out of your pre-workout caffeine, consider reducing your daily intake, especially if you’re leading up to a competitive event.

If you’re happy with that, see ya later! If you want more details, keep on reading.


Getting a Little SNRKy

Researchers at Brown University discovered that the SNRK enzyme decreased inflammation in white fat cells, and increased metabolism in brown fat cells.

Before going further, let’s define white and brown (and even beige) fat cells:

  1. White fat cells store excess calories. That’s it. That’s why their associated with obesity.
  2. Brown fat cells burn calories to produce heat. That’s why their associated with weight loss.
  3. Beige fat cells are located within white fat cells. This is when white fat cells begin to create more mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for creating energy. Energy production creates heat. Thus, beige fat cells are converted white fat cells, which are also metabolically active and can aid in weight loss.

Back to the study.

Scientists bred mice with a lot of SNRK and mice with a little SNRK.

The mice with less SNRK had higher levels of inflammation in their white fat cells (gross), which can increase risk for conditions like Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease. The mice with lower SNRK levels were also heavier and had slower metabolic rates than their counterparts.

Scientists want to find a way to enhance SNRK production, thinking that this can boost overall metabolism and weight-loss, reduce inflammation, and therefore, risk of T2D and CVD.

Brown Fat, Part II

Scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have discovered that bile acids can burn away lipids in fat deposits, and up-regulate mitochondrial biogenesis (making new mitochondria) in white fat cells, turning them into metabolically active beige fat cells.

First, let’s talk about bile.

Bile acids are part of bile. Bile is produced in the liver, stored in the gall bladder, and released into the intestines when you eat.

Bile emulsifies dietary fat (basically suspending the fat molecules). The emulsified fat globules can then be broken down by digestive enzymes, and absorbed in the intestine.

Bile acids accumulate in the blood and interact with fat cells.

These bile acids activate the TGR5 bile receptor, enducing the remodeling of white fat into mitochondria rich, metabolically active beige fat.

How Do I Get More Brown and Beige Fat?

Two words: cold exposure.

Cold exposure is the most effective way to stimulate the brown fat that you have.

How do you do it?

Repeatedly subject yourself to temperatures 6 degrees below your comfort level (typically around 60.8 degrees F).

The colder you go, the bigger the benefits will be. Try to get around the point where you shiver.

Cold exposure has been shown to elevate metabolic rate up to 16%, which brown and beige fat play a role in.

Cold exposure also increases the production of secondary bile acids, which tell your body to create more beige fat.

More brown and beige fat = more heat generated = more calories burned = more weight lost.

Get cold. Decrease inflammation. Lose weight.


Post-Menopause and Paleo

Researchers at Umeå universitet showed that post-menopausal women who follow a paleo diet lose more weight, and maintain weight loss better than women who follow government nutritional guidelines. Not only that, but they also decreased their risk factors for T2D and CVD more than the government nutrition group.

Why is this important? Post-menopausal women have an increased risk for obesity due to changes in hormone production, increased energy intake, and decreased physical activity.

Women who followed the paleo diet lost 3kg more (that’s 6.6 pounds) after 6 months than the group following Nordic nutritional guidelines. Despite having free reign to eat as much as they wanted, the paleo group’s weight loss remained stable after 2 years.

The paleo group also saw a significant reduction in unhealthy abdominal fat, free fatty acids and blood fats, and a reductions in enzymes that are involved in fat storage.

If it works for post-menopausal nordic women, it may work for you.

So, what is paleo?

Essentially, you’ll be doing the following.

  1. Eat:
    1. Protein: lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, shellfish.
    2. Fats: seeds, nuts, and oils.
    3. Lots of vegetables and a little fruit.
  2. Don’t eat:
    1. Cereals,
    2. Milk,
    3. Refined sugars,
    4. Added salt.

pexels-photo-641038 (1)

Why You Should Drink Less Caffeine

Researchers at Dublin City University found more evidence that repeated caffeine intake reduces its efficacy as a performance enhancer (aka ergogenic aid).

Caffeine is the most popular ergogenic aid, as it can enhance strength, mental alertness, duration of performance, and decrease perceived effort.

But, you won’t get those benefits with repeated use and abuse of teas, coffees, and energy drinks.

Researchers made 18 male athletes repeat 10 sprints, and compared each sprint performance.

Athletes were given two pieces of caffeinated gum which were equivalent to 2 cups of coffee.

  1. Athletes who were not habituated to caffeine (didn’t have caffeine resistance from consuming it daily) maintained their performance over all 10 sprints.
  2. Athletes who were habituated to caffeine saw no benefits from the additional caffeine intake.
  3. Athletes who over-consumed caffeine (3 sticks of gum) saw the biggest drop-off in performance over the 10 sprints.

Basically, consume less caffeine.

It’ll improve your performance in the long-run.

Also, consider decreasing caffeine consumption for 1-2 weeks leading up to an event in order to decrease your habituation to it, and increase your response to it.

Personally, I cut it out entirely for one week every month so as to decrease habituation. I like to feel my morning cup of coffee.


The cliff-notes

  1. Go get cold. Cold exposure increases blood-flow to fat tissue, and aids in the conversion of white-fat into beige-fat, which generates heat and increases metabolic rate. Yes, that means more weight loss.
  2. Reducing intake of cereals, milk, refined sugar, and added salt helped a group of women lose weight and keep it off for 2 years!
  3. If you want to get the most out of your pre-workout caffeine, consider cutting it out for up to two weeks, especially if you’re leading up to a competitive event.

Lastly, I’m not a doctor. This is not medical advice. I’m just a nerd who likes to read research, and I figured I’d be productive by sharing it with you.

I’m a nerd, I know.

I read it so you don’t have to.


ps. If there’s anything you’re curious about, and don’t have the time, patience, or know-how to learn about it, let me know. I’ll be sure to post on it if it’s worth-while, or I’ll answer you directly!

If you’re still reading and want more, please subscribe to my blog. You can also follow my daily doings on Instagram.com/robertbilljr, or find me at Life Time – Schaumburg.

You can find my sources below:

  1. Brown University. “Enzyme shown to regulate inflammation and metabolism in fat tissue.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180110220458.htm>.
  2. Jie Li, Bin Feng, Yaohui Nie, Ping Jiao, Xiaochen Lin, Mengna Huang, Ran An, Qin He, Huilin Emily Zhou, Arthur Salomon, Kirsten S Sigrist, Zhidan Wu, Simin Liu, Haiyan Xu. Sucrose Non-Fermenting Related Kinase Regulates Both Adipose Inflammation and Energy Homeostasis in Mice and HumansDiabetes, 2018; db170745 DOI: 10.2337/db17-0745
  3. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. “Bile acids fire up fat burning.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180116111133.htm>.
  4. Umeå universitet. “Paleolithic diet healthier for overweight women.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180118142911.htm>.
  5. Dublin City University. “Caffeine’s sport performance advantage for infrequent tea and coffee drinkers.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180119090348.htm>.
  6. https://examine.com/supplements/cold-exposure/
  7. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/05/01/health-benefits-extreme-hot-cold-temperatures.aspx


  1. Photo by Riccardo Bresciani from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/adventure-boy-climb-climber-300849/
  2. Photo by Malidate Van from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/steak-food-769289/
  3. Photo by Saif Salim from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-ceramic-cup-641038/

One Reply to “Fat-Burning Brown-Fat, Paleo and Post-Menopause, & Why You Should Drink Less Caffeine”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s