White Fat, Brown Fat, Good Fat, Bad Fat

Author photo

The Pure TheraPro Team

The Pure TheraPro Education Team is comprised of researchers from diverse backgrounds including nutrition, functional medicine, fitness, supplement formulation & food science. All articles have been reviewed for content, accuracy, and compliance by a holistic integrative nutritionist certified by an accredited institution.
Last updated for accuracy

Remember the fad a few years back where everything was fat free? Fat free cookies, fat free potato chips, fat free sodas. . . Labels and marketing strategies positioned themselves to be skinnier than their competition, leaner, stronger without the bumpy, fluffy stuff. The claim was that fat free was healthier and would make YOU thinner. But is this true? Is fat really bad? And is it possible that some fat is actually good for you? Or that there are different kinds of fat out there, and their differences are distinguishable when it comes to being healthy? 

If you’re baffled by both the fat on your body and the fat in your food, keep reading. The research on this topic is compelling. Weight loss is not as simple as eating fat free or watching your calories. It’s truly not just about calories in, calories out, and it’s no wonder if you look around. Obesity is at an all-time high. So, should you be eating fat? Avoiding fat? What is the science? Research shows us that there are different types of fat, white fat and brown fat, and there are definite differences between them. 



Our bodies are individual when it comes to storing fat. We have evolved as a species, as fat was once an essential factor in survival. With food shortages, the body stored fat for emergency purposes, allowing people to live for long periods of time without food. 

In today’s world, food is plentiful. It’s constantly in our faces. We eat more and exercise less. We eat beyond the point of fullness and we store fat differently. Instead of serving as an emergency energy supply that gets readily burned and utilized efficiently, our bodies store this emergency fat pack in fat cells, particularly in unwanted places such as the abdomen, and the fat is not burned as energy. It simply sits there and collects. 

A slow metabolism is created when we consume more and exercise less. When fat that we eat isn’t burned through exercise, it gets stored and may lead to obesity. Obesity, in turn, may lead to chronic inflammation and health issues. 

There are two main types of fat--white fat and brown fat. White fat is the bad one if it is in abundance. White fat, also known as white adipose tissue (WAT), is stored in large bubbles around the body and helps insulate organs. White fat becomes an issue when there is too much of it, particularly around the midsection, where it may accumulate and become a risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses. 

Brown fat, on the other hand, may serve some benefits. Unlike the large bubbles of fat associated with white fat, brown fat is comprised of tiny droplets and contains a high iron content, which gives brown fat its color. 

Brown fat is higher in oxygen and contains a larger number of mitochondria. Brown fat appears to be more vascular than white fat, containing more capillaries that correspond with its higher oxygen content. 



Brown fat appears to play an instrumental role in helping us stay warm. It burns in cold weather, creating heat. Research has shown that both humans and animals with higher amounts of brown fat in their body are able to stay warmer in colder climates. It's like an internal campfire. 

Brown fat also corresponds with a leaner body, as those with higher brown fat composition are leaner and less apt to be obese. Brown fat increases metabolism by burning more energy, reducing the amount of white fat accumulation in the body. 

People who are overweight tend to have lower brown fat composition than those who are lean. Children also have more brown fat than adults. Those who lead more active lifestyles have higher brown fat composition than those who lead sedentary lifestyles. 

It is believed that the body can create more brown fat, given the right circumstances. Exercising and building more muscle mass is associated with this recruitable type of brown fat. 



Cold showers may help you get leaner and build more brown fat. Exposing yourself to cold temperatures appears to builds brown fat cells. Studies on exposure to cold for two hours or more at temperatures at or below 66 degrees Fahrenheit have demonstrated that recruitable fat will transform to brown fat. 

Studies on mice have shown that white fat can actually convert to brown fat with the help of a protein called irisin. This protein has a unique ability to transform the bad fat into good fat. This is also suspected to be the case in humans. Research shows that those who exercise have more irisin than those who lead sedentary lifestyles. In addition, exercise helps create more irisin, thus producing more brown fat. 

Certain supplements can also help the body reduce white fat or visceral fat around organs that can lead to chronic illness. Lychee fruit is rich with cofactors that serve as catalysts for various enzymatic reactions. Because of this, it is instrumental in collagen and carnitine production, both of which are required to break down fat and sustain energy.

Oligonol is a combination of lychee fruit and green tea extract. It has been clinically shown to support healthy post-meal blood glucose and lipid levels and reduce visceral fat.

Our MicroActive Oligonol is a 12-hour sustained release vegan formula to support weight loss. This unique formula has 2.39x GREATER bioavailability than regular Oligonol – which means you only need ONE CAPSULE per day to get an equivalent of 239mg Oligonol (the clinical dose required for visceral belly fat reduction).