Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sumo, Heal Thyself

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A sumo can take YOU down, no problem. But what takes down a sumo? A bigger sumo!

In the battle of the bulge, researchers have realized this logic. Fat is finally being used to fight fat.

Researchers in Bonn have discovered that so-called "brown fat" deposits are absent or inactive in obese individuals. Brown fat is not your typical fat - it is stocked full of mitochondria, the energy burning centers of the cell. As a result, brown fat cells release huge amounts of heat and chew up other fat reserves in the process.

Activating just 50 grams of brown fat in the body can increase metabolic rates by 20%, and melt fat at the rate of 5 kilograms a year. If these cells can be activated artificially, another therapeutic option would be available to treat severe metabolic disorders.

In related news, food chemists have created a batter for chicken and fish that reduces the amount of fat in the deep-fried meat by 50%. It is made from an appetizing "slurry" of proteins from spare chicken and fish parts that is sprayed on the meat prior to deep-frying.

And if you are a fan of deep frying, a group of Turkish researchers showed that microwaving your french fries before frying reduces the amount of the carcinogen acrylamide up to 60%, and does not affect the quality of the final product. In fact, pre-microwaving the fries reportedly improved their colour, which was described as "more acceptable" than fries cooked in oil alone.

Then again, maybe all you need is a sumo staring you down while you reach for that next bag of chips…

~Rheanna Sand

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