What Is The Difference Between Brown Fat And White Fat?

Health, Body, Science

Many of us are constantly battling to keep fat at bay, but what if we were to tell you that there is one type of fat that you should be encouraging as part of a healthy lifestyle?

Yes, just as there are good and bad fats in food, so there are in our bodies. The fat you most likely know about is the type that settles around our midriffs, hips and thighs, the kind of fat many of us try to exercise away regularly. But there is another that scientists have previously believed we stop producing post-childhood, but has since been discovered to indeed still be present in adults.

Brown fat may protect us against diseases, particularly for people with high amounts of white fat. Let’s look at the two types of fats and the key differences we know so far.

What’s white fat?

Scientifically referred to as ‘white adipose tissue,’ or WAT, is the type of fat that stores energy in large fat droplets. Having many of these droplets can increase the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and more.

What’s brown fat?

Scientists simply refer to this as ‘adipose tissue,’ which is activated when the body gets cold. In response, brown fat produces heat which can keep the body warm without the need to shiver.

Rather than increase the risk of disease, scientists are studying the preventative ways brown fat may be keeping us healthy.

What is the difference between brown fat and white fat?

Aside from studies showing that brown fat may protect against certain diseases, whereas too much white fat can increase exposure to them, there are a couple of other differences between the two:


Mitochondria is known as the ‘powerhouse of cells’ because it’s the energy source called upon. Brown fat holds much higher levels of mitochondria than white fat cells and uses it to produce heat and keep our bodies warm.


Researchers are interested in brown fat as there’s evidence to suggest that it can use white fat cells as a fuel source, too. Adipose tissue may be activated via exercise and then rely on white fat to assist in its heat-producing activities. That’s good news for people trying to reduce white fat cells in their bodies.

Calorie burn

Thermogenesis, the process of warming your body without shivering thanks to brown fat, involves calorie burning. Conversely, white fat stores these calories and holds onto them.

Droplet size

The droplet size of brown fat is considerably smaller than white fat. In fact, brown fat is now thought to be much more muscle-like than its white counterpart. There are typically more white fat cells than brown fat cells in the body.


White fat sits in your midriff, thighs and hips, just below the skin, whereas brown fat is found in the neck and shoulders. Brown fat also resides much deeper within our body than white fat cells, which is part of the reason it’s been so difficult to study over the years.

Why is brown fat important?

While studies into this type of fat are ongoing and there’s still much to learn, what has been found is the fat’s ability to reduce the risk of diseases, especially for those with high proportions of white fat cells.

We expect brown fat to finally have its place in the limelight throughout 2022, which we’re ecstatic about since we’ve been sharing our love of this type of fat for over a decade.

If you’d like to activate the brown fat in your body but don’t feel up to taking an ice bath, some of our supplements contain plant extracts that can also result in brown fat activation. Why not take a look at:

To see all of the additional benefits these natural supplements hold?

We’ve always been huge fans of brown fat and are excited to see what further scientific studies reveal.