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What is adipose tissue?

Adipose tissue, also referred to as body fat or fat tissue, is a connective tissue made up mostly of fat cells (adipose cells, or adipocytes). It’s mostly found under the skin, but it can also be found in deposits between muscles, in the intestines and their membrane folds, around the heart, and elsewhere. Adipose tissue fat is derived from dietary fats or is formed by the body when there are excess calories.

Types of adipose tissue

Our body fat stores are made up of white and brown adipose tissue.

White adipose tissue

White adipose tissue provides insulation, serves as an energy store for times of starvation or great exertion, and forms pads between organs. When muscles and other tissues need energy, lipolysis is triggered and the fatty acids within this tissue are broken down and released to provide energy. This process is also referred to as lipolysis, and it’s the first stage of fat loss.

Brown adipose tissue

Brown adipose tissue, which is often found in newborns, produces heat while also consuming energy. The proportion of brown adipose tissue in humans declines as they get older. The colour of brown adipose tissue ranges from tan to red.

The distribution of adipose tissue in the human body varies based on gender. In general, men store fat around their waists, while women store fat around their hips rather than their waists.

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