Wired magazine is reporting the Army has commissioned research for a experimental weightloss program where they will inject Brown fat into their recruits to help them weightloss. WTF? Wow, I thought the whole point of Army indoctrination was to go through boot camp and to become an “Army of One”. And I thought all Armed Services had minimal physical fitness standards they adhered to when evaluating a potential recruit. Has recruiting gotten so bad for the Armed Services now they actually have to lower their standards and accept obese recruits – if so are National Security is in trouble.
What is Brown Fat? Brown adipose tissue (BAT) or brown fat is one of two types of fat or adipose tissue (the other being white adipose tissue) found in mammals. Brown fat is present in infants but starts to diminish as we reach adulthood. However, further, recent studies using Positron Emission Tomography scanning of adult humans have shown that it is still present in adults in the upper chest and neck. The remaining deposits become more visible (increasing tracer uptake, that is, more metabolically active) with cold exposure, and less visible if an adrenergic beta blocker is given before the scan. The recent study could lead to a new method of weight loss, since brown fat takes calories from normal fat and burns it.
What’s the difference? Yellow fat, which is what we usually think of as body fat, serves as storage for extra calories. Brown fat, found in much smaller amounts in the body, actually burns calories to generate heat. Babies and children have a relatively high proportion of brown fat to help keep them warm, but as we age, we lose it.
I can see this type of research being commissioned by one of the big pharmaceutical companies as this could be a blockbuster product for them as it will potentially have far reaching effects across many special populations. According to the Wired, an estimated 75 percent of today’s young Americans are either too fat, too sickly or too dumb to serve. The Army’s even overhauled their fitness program, in part to accommodate softer recruits, by swapping long runs and grueling drills for yoga and calisthenics – WOW! Well I guess it makes sense though as more Wars will eventually be fought from behind a computer screen a la Unmanned Aircraft.
And to quote Wired, fat losses aren’t synonymous with fitness gains. In other words, the soldiers of the future might very well be smaller and leaner. But without rigorous exercise, they’ll still, sadly, totally suck at CrossFit.
Read the full Wired article, “Army’s New Weightloss Plan: Transplant Soldiers With Extra Fat“