It may be used to bring down inflammation and prevent swelling in various injuries but scientists have recently found a new benefit of ice packs for people – especially for those who have abdominal fat problems.
Scientists from the University of Kentucky School of Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky discovered that ice packs could be used as a way to lose weight.
For effective use, strap on an ice-pack and place it on a fatty area like thighs or stomach for 30 minutes and it can already burn calories.
The cold compress from ice-pack works by triggering the body into making its flabby white fat transform into calorie burning fat. Humans have two types of fat tissues: The white fat and the brown fat.
The white fat is associated with chubby stomachs and hips that circulates in the blood to fuel muscles while brown fat is used by the body to generate heat. The colder the body, the more brown fat disappears.
Scientists have discovered that when white fat gets very cold, it can transform into near-brown fat, which they call "beige", and it can burn away more fat compared to the other two types.
"We wanted to investigate whether human adults had the ability to transform some white fat deposits into beige fat when they were exposed to cold," said Dr Philip Kern, one of the scientists.
"Browning fat tissue would be an excellent defence against obesity. It would result in the body burning extra calories rather than converting them into additional fat tissue."
Scientists took thigh fat tissue samples from 16 various people after they held an ice pack on the skin for 30 minutes then checked for specific genetic markers that showed which kind of fat was present.
They found elevated levels of three genetic markers tied to beige or brown fat in samples taken during the winter.
Scientists also analyzed belly fat tissue samples from 55 people to see if the tissue samples taken in winter showed more evidence that they were becoming beige. Analysis revealed that belly fat tissue biopsied in the winter was higher in beige fat, compared to the samples taken in the summertime.
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