One of my competitive body building friends used the theories talked about in this CBS new clip to prepare for his competition. Instead of doing cardio, he sat in a cold tub for increasing lengths of time each day, which in turn activates brown fat.
According to Wikipedia: “it has become clear that brown fat is not closely related to white fat, but to skeletal muscle, instead. 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) 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. Scientists were able to stimulate brown fat growth in mice, but human trials have not yet begun.”
Additional reports on and research on brown fat can be found at the following two links, one from the New York Times, the other from WebMD. Based on the evidence I’ve seen, the jury remains out on whether the stimulation of brown fat can be considered as a tool for turning the tide against obesity.