In contrast to popular belief, carrying extra fat may not play a role in keeping warm, according to an article.


The new study on the insulating effect of obesity, by researchers from Stockholm University in Sweden and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, finds that it is in fact fur, not carrying excess fat that contributes to a warmer body in obese mice.

“Whether an insulating effect of obesity exists is of significance both for humans and for animal models of obesity,” the research team writes.

The findings from this study are significant for obesity researchers to grasp how body fat functions to keep mice warm. Mice used for metabolic research are frequently accommodated in cooler conditions, and almost half of the calories they consume are burned to maintain body temperature.

The results reveal that fur is associated with increased insulation, protects against heat loss, and is responsible for almost half of a mouse’s insulation.

The findings conclude that obesity of any kind does not increase thermal insulation in mice or aggravate the development of obesity.

Equivalent insulation studies have not yet been performed in humans. However, with the use of clothing and adjusting indoor temperatures, humans are usually in an environment where the body can maintain its core temperature solely through regulating heat loss to the external environment.

The researchers indicate that “it is doubtful that an insulating effect of obesity, even if it existed, would in any discernible way affect the development or maintenance of human obesity.”