Bitter Melon & Brown Fat

In spite of how it sounds, the title of this article isn’t referring to a new, exotic recipe.

What it does refer to is the fact that we have 2 kinds of fat in our bodies – white fat (which is actually yellow) and brown fat. White fat is what we normally think of when we think of fat. It’s just fat. Brown fat, on the other hand, has some noteworthy properties that support healthy metabolism and even weight loss.

One of the ways brown fat is different than white fat is that it has a much higher metabolic rate and therefore increases both energy production and body temperature. One of the consequences of this is that brown fat will actually help you loose weight! It does this by burning calories from white fat.

This is obviously a good thing. Since it’s so healthy, the question is, how can we make sure we have more brown fat? When we’re born we have lots of the stuff. But as adults we have less.

This means that in addition to exercise and eating the right diet for your body’s unique needs, one way to insure that you have a robust metabolism and also control your weight more easily is to do things that increase your levels of brown fat. But how?

There are 3 ways to do this:

  1. Eat lots of non-starchy vegetables and get plenty of magnesium.

  2. Take adequate amounts of the Omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.

  3. Take the food / herb called bitter melon.

Bitter melon may be best known to those who frequent Chinatown bakeries, where bitter melon cakes are a staple. As a food, it’s long been used to regulate blood sugar, improve insulin resistance, and reduce inflammation.

Now recent research shows that bitter melon holds promise in activating the health-giving properties of brown fat.

Although so far the studies have only been done with mice, they indicate that bitter melon up-regulates the protein that activates brown fat Because of this it enhances the fat oxidation, which in turn enhances calorie burning.

I don’t recommend you take bitter melon in the form of cake. The sugar and wheat these contain will neutralize any benefit you might get. As an alternative you can get bitter melon as a dietary supplement. Put “Bitter Melon” (in quotes) into your favorite search engine and you’ll find plenty of choices.

My favorite online source for reasonably-priced single herb supplements is You can save $5 on our first order by using the code, RUC704.


Wikipedia Article on Brown Fat

“Brown Fat Keeps You Thin,” American College for Advancement in Medicine

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