Dr. Benjamin Bikman - 'Insulin vs. Ketones - The Battle for Brown Fat' (aka more reasons CICO misses the point)

(Patrick B.) #1

This is a new video from 2017 low carb conference. Some main points:

  • White fat is inactive, associated with energy storage
  • Brown fat has lots of mitochondria and is metabolically active, tends to be associated with heat generation (it actually burns glucose, just like muscle) and increase of metabolic rate.
  • Obviously you'd prefer brown fat rather than white fat if you want to keep trim.
  • Insulin moves our fat towards white fat.
  • Ketones move our fat towards brown fat.

The above factors may give a benefit for the keto diet, since it will move us towards more brown fat and therefore higher metabolic rate. It makes the CO part of CICO difficult to analyse without looking at the hormonal factors.

Another thing missed by CICO when comparing Keto to other diets is that the ketones tend to be excreted in urine and breath (a calories out mechanism)…another example where Keto may provide a benefit on the CO side that is not easily recognized by traditional CICO view without considering hormones.

Dr. Benjamin Bikman - ‘Insulin vs. Ketones - The Battle for Brown Fat’

Information like this is a great demonstration of the insanity of traditional CICO dieting.

However, I just want to clarify one point that based on everything I’ve been hearing about the number of hormones excreted by white fat, Dr. Adam Nally recently stated that there are currently 27 different hormones, I would amend the first 2 lines of the summary to limit the comparison between white and brown fat to their metabolic activity only.

  • White fat is metabolically inactive, associated with energy storage, and does not affect the metabolic rate, but is an active component of the endocrine system through the expression of many different hormones.
  • Brown fat has lots of mitochondria and is metabolically active, tends to be associated with heat generation (it actually burns glucose, just like muscle) and increase of metabolic rate.

In the Secret Life of Fat book, the author recounts the story of a child that could not gain weight and had everyone stumped until they discovered that she had so much brown fat that everything she ate was literally being burned up by the brown fat before it could be used for maturation. It’s certainly an extreme case, but a great example of how metabolically active brown fat can be.

(Sascha Heid) #3

Thank you for posting. Just watched it, it’s excellent!

(Michael Wallace Ellwood) #4

Haven’t watched it yet (but I will). However, I thought the received traditional wisdom was that after early childhood, humans didn’t have any brown fat at all. (i.e. it was something that evolution provided in order to enable babies/very young children to survive in cold weather, but mature adults developed other mechanisms for keeping warm, and no longer “needed” brown fat, and so didn’t have it.

However, perhaps research has moved on in this area, and maybeDr Bikman covers this.

(Todd Allen) #5

Brown fat comes and goes as needed. Most adults have little. It appears a primary function is surviving winter and the amount increases dramatically in animals that hibernate or go into torpor. The combination of cold and reduced caloric intake promote its growth. It seems the reduced caloric intake part is signaled through ketones and thus a ketogenic diet mimics the fasted state over wintering animals experience.

Wim Hof, aka the iceman, does a lot of extreme cold exposure and fasting and I suspect has a lot of brown fat. When I was a pre-diabetic metabolic wreck with severe muscle wasting due to a genetic neuro-muscular wasting disease, SBMA, my tolerance for temperature extremes was rapidly shrinking to nothing. I believe the muscle wasting aggravated my degrading blood glucose homeostasis which accelerates the neuropathy and muscle wasting. A death spiral. Which accelerated when I developed Reynaud’s and I followed my doctor’s advice to always keep my core warm. Inspired by Wim’s crazy feats I started doing thermal stress through cold and hot baths to try and improve metabolic health. My Reynaud’s abated and most of this winter in Chicago I wore shorts and a T-shirt and only wore a jacket when outdoors for extended periods of time. I haven’t had it measured but I suspect I had some success in developing brown fat and that it has played a role in fixing my metabolism, restoring temperature tolerance and reversing my muscle wasting.

(Michael Wallace Ellwood) #6

Thanks @brownfat.

I’ve heard some people talking highly of cold showers, although probably not for the specific reasons you mention, at least, they don’t know why they benefit, but they seem to.

I’ve tried it, but I’m too much of a baby… :slight_smile:

(John) #7

Just watched this, the thing that struck me the most was in making fat from scratch in the lap (20 min mark) they can’t even get adipose tissue without feeding it insulin first.